A Florida couple had almost 300 animals in their home when Pinellas County Sheriff's officials arrived at their home Jan. 6. The couple had called the police when they believed a 16-month-old girl in their care had gone missing, and what deputies found in the home was astonishing. WTSP shared the details.
Jeffrey O'Neil, 28, and Jennifer Kovacs, 26, told deputies that the toddler got out of her crib, opened the front door and had been gone for about an hour. The authorities arrived at the home to investigate the 16-month-old's disappearance, and what they found was nearly 300 animals in the home. The home had snakes, rats, mice, squirrels, hedgehogs, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and lizards throughout the residence. In addition, O'Neil and Kovacs were found to be intoxicated.
Luckily the young girl was safe and sound at a relative's home. Apparently the relative had taken the child to their home and left a note to that effect, because the girl had been crying and O'Neil couldn't be awakened. Officials say the 300 animals in the home were being bred and sold, but that O'Neil and Kovacs weren't licensed to do so. A hamster and three rates were dead and half eaten in the home, and one lizard managed to escape and burrow itself in the backyard of the Oldsmar, Fla. home.
The couple has been arrested for animal cruelty and child abuse. Officials indicate that the Oldsmar home was in deplorable condition, as just about anybody would expect when 300 animals are in the home.