LARGO, Fla. -- Rabbits. Rats. Reptiles. A long list of animals was seized from a house in Oldsmar this weekend, enough to fill four trucks.
"We knew it was a lot of animals," says Nora Hawkins with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Tampa Bay. "We thought 100, then we thought 200. It turned out to be 300. And some of the animals are pregnant, so we are seeing more."
They were found crammed in a house on Sunday when a couple called police, thinking their infant daughter had gone missing. When Pinellas County deputies got there, they found out relatives were caring for the girl, but no one was caring for the nearly 300 animals found scattered around the property. Some were dead, their bodies partially devoured by other animals.
"I've been around about 15 years now, and this is the largest confiscation case I have ever seen," Hawkins says.
SPCA Tampa Bay normally houses between 300 and 400 creatures. This confiscation case doubled the population in just one day.
"The cleaning, the heating, the feeding, just the overall care of these animals is very time consuming," says Rick Levi, a Pinellas County humane officer with SPCA Tampa Bay.
There weren't enough cages for the reptile rush, meaning the SPCA had to decontaminate the enclosures they arrived in.
"As filthy as the cages were, it took two people a good two days to clean all the cages," Levi says.
Hawkins estimates it could cost the SPCA $3,000 a day in order to care for the animals confiscated in Oldsmar. The organization is in desperate need of clean cages, newspaper to lay inside, food bowls, and food for all the species they've collected.
To help, you can visit their website or call 727-586-3591.