Crime and Safety

300 Animals Found in ‘Brutal’ Conditions Rescued from Condemned, Roach-Infested House

Anyone who’s ever taken in needy animals or who has been actively involved in animal rescue knows just what a slippery slope rescue can be, and how a generous heart and the best of intentions can still end up perpetuating some pretty horrible conditions when not tempered with restraint.

Karin Keyes, also known as “Snow White,” earned the nickname because of her love of animals. According to her friends, she’s a kind soul whose heart broke when she learned of a pet store that was closing.

“She found out a pet store was closing and went to rescue the animals because she didn’t want them to be homeless,” friend Danielle Ward said, according to WNBC-TV.

“When she found out an animal was sick or needed a home, she went and took it under her wing, you know, and I guess it got out of control,” Ward added.

Soon, Keyes’ home in Miller Place, Long Island, was overrun with cats, rabbits, snakes, turtles and birds.

The mess was incredible and the state of the house quickly deteriorated. Despite that, Keyes — a licensed social worker — continued to see patients in her home, which was, in the end, the animals’ saving grace.

When Keyes went on a trip, she had patients stop by to care for the animals, WNYW-TV reported.

According to Jed Painter, chief of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Biological Environmental and Animal Safety Team, one of those patients alerted authorities by tripping a fire alarm.

The sad state of the home and its small but numerous inhabitants was soon known, and soon a rescue was underway.


“You have to wear personal protective equipment because the air is noxious. … You’ve got situations where the cages are stacked so animals can urinate and defecate on animals below,” Painter said.

“You’re going to have things like conjunctivitis, you’re going to have things like hair loss, you’re going to have urine stains, you’re going to have unhealed injuries and scarring and soring.”

“It is a terrible living environment that no animal or human should have to endure.”

The home was condemned. Keyes was arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Around 300 animals were found in the home, as well as hordes of roaches. The ASPCA stepped in to take the animals to shelters.

“When ASPCA responders arrived on the property, it was clear immediate intervention was necessary to remove hundreds of neglected animals from the inhumane and brutal conditions they were subjected to and provide them with expert care,” ASPCA CEO Matt Bershadker said, according to the ASPCA website.

“The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has developed a task force dedicated to helping animals in need, and we commend them for prioritizing efforts to stop animal neglect and cruelty in their communities.

“The ASPCA is proud to support their work by bringing these animals to safety and assisting the prosecutorial case through evidence collection, forensic exams, and legal and investigative support.”

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