A volunteer with the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been investigated and faces animal cruelty charges after investigators removed more than 300 dead birds from her home. Gretchen Rell, 54, of Little Silver, New Jersey, reportedly volunteered with the SPCA for nearly a decade, yet did not have permits to keep animals in her home. According to reports from USA Today, Rell was a “Sub-Permitte,“ and had the authority to transfer needy birds from her possession to the SPCA, but was not allowed to legally bring them home. It is unclear how or why she began animal hoarding, but authorities state that in addition to the more than 300 dead birds removed from her property, 18 live animals were also taken to the SPCA. At least 60, additional animals were located in a second home owned by Rell.
Victor Amato, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County SPCA, described the horrific scene to USA Today. “The dead birds were in cages stacked from floor to ceiling, five feet high. It’s hard to describe. There were just boxes and crates stacked up. There were dead animals in the garage and basement.”
In addition to the animal hoard, Rell’s 95-year-old mother also lived in the home.
You may see a video report from this case in the video player above.