Harrison County couple facing animal cruelty, child neglect - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Harrison County couple facing animal cruelty, child neglect charges

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Feces covered floors found inside the Lee's home.  (Source:  Harrison County Animal Control.) Feces covered floors found inside the Lee's home. (Source: Harrison County Animal Control.)
Several cats crowd a bed inside the Lee's home.  (Source:  Harrison County Animal Control.) Several cats crowd a bed inside the Lee's home. (Source: Harrison County Animal Control.)
Authorities say a child slept on a soiled mattress.  (Source:  Harrison County Animal Control.) Authorities say a child slept on a soiled mattress. (Source: Harrison County Animal Control.)
Officers found feces and mold covered clothing.  (Source:  Harrison County Animal Control.) Officers found feces and mold covered clothing. (Source: Harrison County Animal Control.)

DEPAUW, INDIANA (WAVE) - A woman who ran a feline rescue operation is facing animal cruelty charges after Animal Control officers found "deplorable" conditions inside a Harrison County home.

Randall and Samantha Lee are facing charges after officials confiscated dozens of ill animals from their home.

"It made your nostrils swell shut and you would have involuntary gagging," said Bruce LaHue with Harrison County Animal Control.

That's how officers describe conditions inside the couple's Depauw, Indiana home.

"There was animal feces on flat surfaces of the floor. You had to be careful where you walked because most of the animals had diarrhea and the floor was very slippery in most places," LaHue told WAVE 3.

Pictures show clothes covered in both feces and mold.

"The condition of the house was atrocious. It would be what most people would consider to be unlivable," LaHue said.

Nearly three dozen cats, three dogs, and four chickens were living inside and outside of the home.

The arrest report of Randall and Samantha Lee also says a young child was living in the filth, forced to sleep on a soiled mattress, pictures show.

"We feel sorry for the kids that they have to grow up over there," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified.

Neighbors say they knew something was up by the smell alone.

"We smelled manure on our front porch a lot."

A van with a "pet friendly" sticker was parked at the Lee's home when WAVE 3 stopped by, but only their older son was home.

The rescued animals were all sick when they were brought to the shelter, suffering from various diseases including upper respiratory infections.

"These cats eyes were matted shut when we got them and you can see one cat has damage to its right eye and that's probably going to be permanent," LaHue said.

Four felines had to be put to sleep.

The shelter's spent nearly $5,000 on lab tests and treatments, and has even lost business.

"While the cats were sick we had to suspend our adoption operation during one of the busiest times of the year," LaHue said.

None of the animals are able to be put up for adoption because there's a pending lawsuit filed by the Lee's against the Animal Care Office in Harrison County.  Their next court date is set for March of 2012.

In January of 2010, nearly two dozen animals were confiscated at that home, found living in similar condition, but the couple was never charged for animal cruelty.

They're now officially facing animal cruelty and child neglect charges for this recent raid, but the children are still allowed to live at the home.

The case started when a woman changed her mind an hour after trusting Lee to watch her two cats while the woman recovered from the flu.

When that woman called Lee to get her cats back, Lee's phone had been disconnected, so the woman called authorities which resulted in the discovery of the fifthly conditions.

More online:  Samantha Lee's Frisky Felines organization

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