Hundreds of animals were found Tuesday morning in a home where four children lived in eastern Iowa, authorities said.
At about 9:10 a.m., authorities in Benton County executed a search warrant at 607 W. 6th Street in Vinton to investigate suspected violations of city ordinances involving dangerous animals. Officers found 500 to 1,000 animals inside the house and a detached garage that included rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, chinchillas, turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils and a ball python, police said.
The police department called the number of animals discovered “extraordinary.” Several dead animals were found in various states of decomposition or stored in a freezer, authorities said.
Four children were living at the home, and their parents were cooperating with the Iowa Department of Human Services, police said. Authorities are still investigating and no criminal charges or civil sanctions have been filed.
The animals were removed by volunteers. A veterinarian assessed the animals and said many were malnourished, dehydrated and were living in overcrowded conditions that were heavily contaminated with excessive amounts of fecal matter, according to police.
The Cedar Valley Humane Society is accepting donations, such as money and small animal cages and bedding, to help the animals that were seized. In a statement, the humane society called the situation “just terrible” and said living animals were found in cages with dead ones.
Vinton police, the city’s building inspector and code enforcement officer, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Department of Human Services responded to the scene.