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Three young girls found in 'deplorable living conditions' with 245 animals — along with rotting food and feces, urine everywhere


Three adults were charged with three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

Police in Edgewater, Florida, on Sunday checked on the well-being of three girls — ages 8, 9, and 10 — at a house and said they found " deplorable living conditions."

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

Along with the children, police found 245 animals on the property, and they said "it was immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly."

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

What are the details?

Police said they found a dead guinea pig in a cage, rotting food, as well as animal feces and urine throughout the residence.

Image source: Edgewater Police Department

The Department of Children and Families removed the girls from the house and placed them with a responsible family member.

Police and Edgewater Animal Control removed the animals from the property and took them to an animal shelter.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The following animals were found:

  • Four dogs
  • Two cats
  • Nine guinea pigs (plus one dead guinea pig)
  • 12 rabbits
  • Four hamsters
  • 10 sugar gliders (marsupials akin to flying squirrels)
  • 14 birds
  • One gecko
  • One tortoise
  • One hedge hog
  • Seven bearded dragons (a type of lizard)
  • One leopard spotted gecko
  • 95 mice
  • 60 adult rats
  • 23 baby rats

Who are the suspects?

Melissa Hamilton, Gregg Nelson, and Susan Nelson will be charged with three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty, police said.

According to WJXT-TV, Susan Nelson and Gregg Nelson are married, and Hamilton is Gregg Nelson's girlfriend. The station said Gregg Nelson got angry and wanted to break up with both of them, so he called police — and cops showed up to the house and found the children and the animals.

Gregg Nelson wanted to take his three daughters, but his wife wouldn't let him, the Washington Post reported, adding that Nelson's call to police was a wellness check.

The officer who arrived could smell ammonia from the driveway, the paper added, and observed caged animals sitting in their own urine and feces, some without food or water. The officer also said all the animals appeared to be infested with fleas, and some appeared to have mange, the Post noted.

The paper added that Nelson said he was having chest pains and requested an ambulance and was taken to the hospital.

More from the Post:

Hamilton said she had taken 17 Xanax pills to end her life because she felt everything was going to be taken from her, according to the police report. She was also taken to a local facility for treatment and evaluation.

Susan Nelson, who remained on the scene, signed a consent form that allowed officers to enter her home and another form that allowed the animals to be removed. She wasn't under arrest at the time and could have revoked her consent at any time, according to the police report.

By the time paperwork had been completed, Susan Nelson had been transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail with no bond. Gregg Nelson is in Edgewater police custody, according to police, and Hamilton is at another facility because of her suicide attempt. Law enforcement will be notified of her release, as a holdover affidavit will be in place for her arrest.

Susan Nelson in court (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Anything else?

Police said they are accepting donations for the girls — new clothing or new toys — and that donations can be delivered to the Edgewater Police Department at 135 East Park Avenue, Edgewater, FL 32132. Monetary donations for the girls can be given to the Edgewater Police Volunteers Association in the police department lobby.

Edgewater Animal Shelter donations can be be dropped off at 605 Mango Tree Drive in Edgewater.

Neglect and abuse of children and animals in Edgewater home

Editor's note: The Edgewater Police account on Facebook incorrectly spelled Gregg Nelson's first name as Greg; TheBlaze on Tuesday verified the correct spelling with a police official.

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