Sheriff: Bobcat among 67 animals removed from home - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sheriff: Bobcat among 67 animals removed from home

(Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department) (Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department)
(Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department) (Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department)
(Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department) (Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department)
(Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department) (Source: Williamson County Sheriff's Department)
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Williamson County Sheriff's Department removed a bobcat, a pig and 41 dogs among other animals after a complaint about an odor coming from a home on Route 166.

According to the sheriff's office, deputies did a welfare check at the home and through the windows they saw the home was full of caged dogs, cats and other animals. The floors were covered in several inches of feces and the home had no power for the past two weeks.

While at the house, the 51-year-old resident, returned home. She voluntarily went to the sheriff's office for an interview.

She told investigators that until sometime in 2014 she was a licensed veterinarian, but lost her license because of complaints.

However, the woman said she was still doing surgeries in her home, but did not tell her clients she lost her license, according to the sheriff's department. A friend of the woman, Louis Ottolini, says she is a true animal lover and would never abuse any animal.

"I would say she would spend about 40 dollars each day on these animals," Ottolini said. "She just doesn't eat very much, she'd rather spend it on her animals."

The 51-year-old resident said she wants people to know that she would never abuse, neglect, or starve an animal. After receiving an eviction notice to her 23-acre farm and recently losing her father, she said she's been going through a difficult time.

According to the Williamson County Sheriff's Department, the woman has not been arrested yet.

Officials say reports from three to four different agencies still need to be completed and sent to the state's attorney's office, then a decision will be made on which charges will be filed against the woman.

She recently hired a lawyer and has been told not to say anything.

The Williamson County Animal Control confirmed that the animals inside the house were in a life-threatening situation. At least one dog could be seen with bone exposed from injuries.

The sheriff's department issued a search warrant for the home, barn and vehicle.

Due to the bio-hazards inside the house, the Williamson County Fire Protection District was contacted. The firemen had to enter the house wearing bio-hazard suits and full respirators.

The firemen found the entire house to be full of feces, and located several deep freezers of dead animals, along with numerous bags containing dead animals.

The sheriff's office reports as the live animals were being removed, the firemen discovered a full grown bobcat and an "African Serval" (a medium-sized African wild cat) were loose inside the home.

According to the Williamson County Animal Control, the total number of live animals removed from the home was 33 dogs, 22 cats, 3 donkeys, 2 roosters, 1 full sized pig, 1 possum, 1 rabbit, 1 Scottish highland cow, 1 cockatoo, 1 bobcat, and 1 "African Serval." The animals were placed with numerous shelters and rescue groups.

The sheriff's office reports numerous charges are expected to be filed.

However, at this time, the animals don't appear to be stolen.

Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick said all the animals rescued will or have been seen by veterinarians. He said some of the animals were in very poor condition.

The removal and placement of the animals at shelters took more than 16 hours.

Many people asked who the assisting animal rescue organizations were, and how people can help these animals.

The rescue organizations that responded that night do not want to be identified, and do not want special attention, according to the Williamson County Sheriff's Office. They don't want to be singled out when there are many, many other rescue organizations who also work hard for the benefit of their community.

They suggested that if reading about the conditions of these specific animals causes you to want to make a donation or to inquire about an adoption, find a local rescue organization in your area to donate time or supplies, or find an animal that deserves to be adopted.
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