VINTON – As many as 1,000 small animals were removed after city officials found them living in overcrowded conditions in a Vinton home Tuesday.
According to Vinton police, the collection filled the home and a detached garage at 607 W. Sixth St. and included rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, chinchillas, turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils and a ball python. Estimates range from between 500 to 1,000 animals were in the house, according to police.
A veterinarian determined many of the animals were malnourished and dehydrated, and police said the area was contaminated with fecal matter.
“Several dead animals were found scattered throughout the residence in various states of decomposition or stored in a freezer,” police said in a release on the matter.
Four children were living at the home, and the parents are cooperating with the Iowa Department of Human Services, according to police.
Police said the investigation is continuing, and no decision has been made regarding criminal charges or civil sanctions.
Volunteers with the Cedar Valley Humane Society, Friends of the Shelter and Wild Thunder Animal Rescue removed the animals.
The Cedar Rapids-based Cedar Valley Humane Society is asking the public for help in supplying food, animal bedding, cages, nail trimmers and donations to help with the rescue effort. A post on the organization’s Facebook page described the conditions in the home as “terrible” with rotting food and animals with “DIY surgery” in process.”