PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — An elderly Pawtucket couple will not face criminal charges after nearly 100 animals were seized from their home on Wednesday, according to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA).
Police were called to the Oakland Avenue home for code and zoning issues when they found the animals living in deplorable conditions. RISPCA President Joe Warzycha said several dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, hamsters and mice were removed from the home.
Senior Services is now helping the couple find temporary housing after their home was condemned by a building inspector, according to police.
Three dogs were also seized by animal control officers at Slater Park Wednesday afternoon after a group of dog owners realized the dogs did not belong to anyone there. Eyewitness News was there as officers removed the dogs from the park.
According to the RISPCA, a friend of the elderly residents offered to take the dogs to the shelter but when he noticed the facility was closed, he decided to let the dogs loose in the dog park.
Warzycha said the owners willingly relinquished all of the animals. Since this is a case of animal hoarding, he said the couple will not face charges but they will not be able to get back any of their previous pets.
“The hoarding mentality is not really neglect mentality. It’s more of the need to want to care for these animals,” Warzycha explained. “The situation probably would or could warrant charges but in situations like this, we try to take in all of the circumstances and it just didn’t seem like criminal charges were warranted.”
The RISPCA was able to take in two ferrets but Warzycha said the rest of the animals had to be dispersed between several shelters across the state.
“There’s really no one organization that can handle that number of animals, including us,” he said.
Warzycha said there’s still an undetermined amount of cats that need to be retrieved from the home, which could take several days. He said hoarding investigations take a huge toll on the organization’s resources.
“Sometimes it is a physical endeavor to remove these animals and catch these animals,” he said. “It always strains you mentally. It’s never an easy thing to see.”
Anyone interested in adopting any of the animals should contact one of the listed agencies for more information.