More than 180 animals seized from Kitsap County property

More than 180 animals seized from Kitsap County property
OLALLA, Wash. -- Animal control officers seized more than 180 animals in what could be one of the biggest animal cruelty cases Kitsap County has seen in a decade.

Officers say the animals were neglected by their owner, and found living in dire conditions with very little food.

"They deserve better," said veterinarian Dr. Melissa Kehl with the Kitsap Humane Society. "They deserve bigger space, warm conditions, good food, good clean water. They just deserve better, and they weren't getting that."

Investigators found more than 80 rabbits, 50 to 100 birds, three miniature ponies, at least seven goats and a dozen cats and dogs. Two alpacas and two llamas were also found living on the property officers described as cluttered.

"A lot of scattered vehicles and debris, and a lot of garbage, some building materials, all sorts of things," said Jake Shapley of Kitsap Humane Society of the property.

Animal control officers said they were called to the property back in April and have visited numerous times since, including three different times in October.

"On all three of those visits, there was not enough food here to take care of animals for more than a day," Shapley said.

Because the owner failed to comply and adequately care for the animals, officers served a search warrant on Thursday, they said.

Officers are investigating an allegation that the owners let a cow starve to death, then buried it on the property. They plan to exhume the remains then perform a necropsy to determine whether the allegation is true.

Investigators from the Department of Health also responded to the home, concerned about the living conditions in which the animals were found.

"Stormwater infiltration of feces and diseases, that sort of thing," Shapley said.

But neighbors say they had no idea that so many animals lived so close by.

"I would have never thought," said neighbor Mike Solima. "It's a rural area, but I never would've thought 150 animals at all."

The Kitsap Humane Society, with the help of some foster homes, will take in all of the animals until the court decides where they should go.