DENVER (CBS4) – Four people face charges in a new case of animal hoarding in the Denver metro area.
A total of 22 dogs were rescued late last month from an 800 square foot apartment on East Virginia Avenue in Southeast Denver. The animals were living in squalor.
Animal control officers also found one cat, two turtles and two hamsters along with a dead puppy and two dead frogs.
The Denver Animal Shelter is caring for the terrier poodle mixes until someone adopts them into new homes.
Ken Rumery, 57, Linda Rumery , 50, Karla Rumery, 24, and Ian Nelson, 24, now face animal cruelty charges.
“The smell of the excrement and the urine was very, very strong,” said Animal Control Officer Lorraine Pachecho, who donned a hazmat suit when she was in the apartment to remove the animals. “You could barely walk in the house.”
Police found out about the hoarding of the animals after a neighbor called police when the smell became unbearable.
“We were in here getting sick and we were smelling it and I know it’s got to be some kind of health danger,” Rosilyn Gadison told CBS4. “I think (the animal owner) needs to be punished. She punished those dogs … she needs to be punished.”
Pachecho said the animal owners said their obsession with collecting pets “spiraled out of control.”
“She started with one and it just continued,” Pachecho said.
Contact the Denver Animal Shelter at 1241 W. Bayaud Avenue if you are interested in adopting the dogs, who will be available for adopting soon. Learn more at denvergov.org/animalcare.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained a video clip with images of the suspects, one of which was not the correct person. That video clip has been deleted.