Oct 15, 2015 1:29 PM
WESTPORT, Mass. - A homeowner, her estranged husband and a 17-year-old relative face multiple animal cruelty charges after investigators discovered two dogs and a bearded dragon that died of apparent starvation and dehydration in a home full of decaying feces and household trash.
Police, health workers, an animal control officer, veterinarian and members of the Boston Animal Rescue League went to the home at 644 Sanford Road on Sept. 25 They say the kitchen floor of the home was covered with feces and trash. When they looked for pets, they found a dead American Eskimo dog in a trash bag, a bearded dragon lizard dead in a terrarium and another dog, also an American Eskimo, covered in fleas, lying dead in a closet with a partially-eaten paperback book in its mouth.
Investigators were unable to locate adequate food or water for the animals. They say a cat litter box was located in one of the bedrooms, and was overflowing with cat feces, though the cats appeared to have exited through a broken cellar window.
One of the dogs was approximately 12 years old and the other was about 6 years old.
Investigators say the odor inside the house was overwhelming even with personal protective equipment including face masks.
Following further investigation, homeowner Nicole Botelho, 45, with a current address of 481 Briggs Road, Westport, and Stephen Botelho, age 52, of 68 Anthony Avenue in Swansea, were arrested by Westport police on Oct. 13.
They were arraigned on six counts of animal cruelty. The 17-year-old relative also was summoned to court on the same charges, police said.
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