A Florida woman was arrested after deputies from the sheriff’s office discovered a young child in her home, surrounded by over 300 rats and other insects living in deplorable conditions.
Citrus County sheriff’s deputies said they arrived at Shannon Marie Morgan’s Beverly Hills home on Wednesday night to investigate an animal cruelty complaint.
When deputies arrived, they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the smell of ammonia and discovered a ‘build up’ of feces, trash, and rotten food, which resulted in an infestation of flies and cockroaches.
Deputies later discovered reptiles, rodents, and cages, as well as cats roaming freely chasing down the hordes of rodents, before coming across the young child in a trash-filled bedroom.
Morgan, 38, is now facing 12 counts of animal cruelty and child neglect charges. and is being held on a $26,000 bond as animal control officers work to clear the home.
It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney to speak on her behalf.
Several videos and photos from the scene show dozens of rats in cages climbing up the walls and freely running around the house.
Authorities say they also discovered several small reptiles in cages and aquariums, including a large snake.
One room even housed 50 rats, with more than 300 running around freely, while a second bedroom housed a ferret in a feces-filled cage and a dog found inside a ‘entirely too small’ crate.
None of the animals had food or water in their cages, with sheriff’s deputies writing on Facebook: ‘It was blatantly obvious: These animals were deprived of all their basic necessities.’
The young child was eventually discovered in a third bedroom that authorities say was ‘filled with trash,’ with roaches on the mattress and blood on the floor from where one of the cats killed a rat.
‘Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated,’ Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement, adding: ‘The conditions of this residence and the animals in this case were so bad, Sheriff’s Office personnel were cautioned about making entry.’
‘Neither children nor animals should ever endure this type of environment,’ he said. ‘It is crucial that our citizens report any possible signs of child or animal neglect.’
Animal control officers have now removed seven cats, one dog, and one ferret from the home as authorities continue to investigate the living conditions.
According to documents obtained by DailyMail.com, Morgan had previously defaulted on her mortgage payments for the single-story house, which was listed for sale by the sheriff’s office in July.
Animal control officers will now return to the Beverly Hills home at a later date to remove all of the other animals.