HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – Nearly three dozen dogs found living in filthy conditions in a Hialeah townhouse will soon be getting the care they need.
On Thursday morning, Miami-Dade police and pet rescue workers removed the dogs from the residence at 5354 W 26th Avenue. They were taken to Sky Lake Animal Hospital in Miami Gardens where they will be cleaned up and checked out before being sent off to varying pet rescue operations.
“I never even thought that we would see any thing like this,” said Cira Lesli with Better Life Rescue. “This has really blown me away and really given me a whole new perspective on what can happen when people look the other way.”
“These animals were suffering in some ghastly circumstances, lacking food, water, medical attention, living in unsanitary conditions and confined to small spaces,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement. “This is a textbook example of neglect.”
Many of the animals had been in cages, in their own filth, for years.
“There was feces everywhere. Fresh, dry, caked on, even on the human beds and they were sleeping in those beds when the officers arrested them this morning,” said Stacy Nacisse with Get A Life Pet Rescue.
The animals’ owners, 49-year-old Ileana Arnais and Rubin Dario Arrojo, have been charged with 34 felony counts of animal cruelty. Arnais is in a Miami-Dade jail, with bond set at $85,000.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said the horrible neglect of the animals came to light a few months ago when Arnais asked Ana Vivas, a pet groomer, to come to her home to groom the dogs. Arnais also wanted to show Vivas several dogs that she no longer wanted and wanted to give them to Vivas so she could place them with a rescue group.
Vivas would later tell investigators when she finally went to Arnais’ home, it smelled like a sewer and there were feces on the floor. It was then that she saw the filthy conditions the dogs were living in. Over the course of the next month she visited the house on several occasions groomed some of the dogs and left with several of them which she turned over to pet rescue groups.
Vivas finally got in touch with Leslie and they contacted the Hialeah police.
Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby said when they were taken into custody the couple told the officers they had done nothing wrong.
“They weren’t in agreement that there was a crime being committed,” said Zogby. “They lived under these conditions as if they were normal.”
Also living in the townhouse was the couple’s 26-year son. Police said he seemed confused and overwhelmed, but assisted in helping pet rescue workers remove the dogs. He has not been charged.