Police say more than 1,000 animals were found in this Missouri home.
St. Charles County, MO (KSDK) - You might just cringe when you hear what St. Charles County authorities found inside a home that had kids living in it.
It was a collection of 1,000 animals including 800 mice and more than 100 snakes.
As strange as it may sound, Michelle and Anthony Higgins weren't breaking any laws by having so many animals, but on Thursday they were charged with child endangerment because they had kids in what police describe as extremely filthy conditions.
"They had 132 snakes, 800 to 1,000 mice and rats, one dog and five lizards," said John Sonderegger, a St. Charles County spokesperson.
Not too bad if we're talking about a local zoo or pet store. Instead, Sonderegger is talking about what two parents were keeping in their otherwise normal looking suburban home in St. Charles County.
"I've never heard of anything like this and I've been around a long time," said Sonderegger.
County officials got a tip that the owners of the home were living in deplorable and unhealthy conditions. The tip sent county and state officials to the home on Oak Bend Drive where they ended up face-to-face with the owners, and one unbelievable smell.
"The sheriff deputy that went in had to come out and throw up and the Division of Family Services worker got sick. It was horrible," said Sonderegger.
What they found was a vast collection of snakes. The actual reptiles are with a local animal rescue group now, but the owners were keeping corn snakes, king snakes, and milk snakes. The collection of almost 150 non-poisonous snakes also included boas and pythons.
"He is a super nice guy and the family are nice folks and I really hate to see something like this happen to anybody but he came over and told us he had 1,000 animal and that's a lot of animals. Probably too many with kids around, a family," said neighbor Luke Scherrer.
In case you're wondering why the couple isn't faces charges over the reptiles, there currently isn't a county ordinance that addresses snakes or reptiles, and these animals aren't considered exotic which would be against the law.