One neighbor says it took hours to rescue 137 animals from a Fulton home

1 year 9 months 4 weeks ago Friday, July 27 2018 Jul 27, 2018 Friday, July 27, 2018 2:38:00 PM CDT July 27, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Monica Harkins, KOMU 8 Reporter
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FULTON - Fulton police department searched a Fulton house Thursday and found 137 animals, guinea pigs, lambs, chickens, snakes, unhatched eggs, to name a few. The house is now condemned.

Officers were executing a search warrant based on a tip when they found the animals in a home on Grand Avenue and called Fulton Animal Control to collect all the animals.

Fulton Police Department said there were 137 live animals at the home: six cockatiel and parakeets, five hedge hogs, one guinea pig, one box turtle, one Hamster, eight dogs, 57 quail, 41 chickens, seven ducks, one turkey, two lambs, five pigeons, one bearded dragon and one red tail boa.

Officials found four dead rabbits and two dead chickens at the home.

Animals are being evaluated and cared for at this time and the investigation is on-going.

Officers cited Melissa Baxter with animal abuse and neglect. 

"The only animals I ever saw of her's were dogs," Mary Atterberry, a neighbor who lives a few houses down, said. "I'd never seen any of the other animals."

Atterberry said she was shocked when she found out.

"To have near the amount of animals they had, it had to have been ridiculously crazy," Atterberry said. "There's just no way I'd live with that many animals."

This is the city of Fulton's number of animal restrictions for dogs and cats:

"No person shall harbor more than a combined total of four dogs and cats, except that litters of such animals under the age of three months shall be excluded, unless such person is operating a commercial business."

According to the press release quail and chickens were also found in the home.

Fulton's code of ordinances allows "ten adult rabbits, chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, geese, or ducks per acre."

Another neighbor Ameilia Richardson said it looked like Baxter took care of the outside animals.

"As far as their animals go they loved their animals they built pens for them and kept them sheltered from the weather, watered and fed," Richardson said.

Atterberry said you can smell the house a few houses away, but she didn't know it was 80 animals that made the smell.

"It's been over a year since you could comfortably walk past that house," Atterberry said. 

An employee at Callaway County Animal Shelter, Tyler Dillingham, said that if someone has the space and the means to take care of that many animals than it's okay. 

"If their needs aren't met...that's not a good thing," Dillingham said. "I have no idea how you would even begin to care for that."

KOMU 8 News reached out to Melissa Baxter, but she hasn't responded to comment.

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