Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities found nearly 40 starved animals living in dreadful conditions in the basement of a Bensonhurst house on March 8, according to police.
The tipster told the American Alliance for the Protection of Animals (AAPA) that a teenaged boy had been hoarding and mistreating animals in the 76th Street house between 20th and 21st avenues, leading authorities to search the premises — where they found 21 cats, six dogs, two ducks, two pigs, one turtle, and five mice, according to AAPA.
A video shows the animal-rights rescuers searching the home after they boy’s mother, Maryann Carollo, allowed them inside — where they found dozens of starving animals that supposedly haven’t seen light for over two years.
On the ground floor, rescuers saw two pigs, three dogs and a cat kept in filthy cribs — which were ostensibly meant for the make-shift daycare center that the family operates out of the building’s ground floor.
In the basement, activists found the 37 emaciated pets, as well as dead animals, feces, and a powerful odor, according to the rescuers, who say they found the carcass of a cat who appeared to have been eaten by the other animals.
“We were hit with such a strong smell of ammonia that we had to breathe through our clothes,” wrote members of AAPA in a letter to Attorney General Letisha James. “The floor was covered with feces, garbage, mold, debris, dead animals all mixed together with about 21 cats roaming around, starved and malnourished.”
The boy and his mother admitted to keeping the animals locked in the basement for years, according to the letter — but they’d scrubbed the basement of the most damning evidence by the time police conducted a thorough inspection on March 8.
“Police officers arrived at approximately 3 pm and went inside the basement, at which point all the evidence was gone, but the smell of ammonia mixed with dead animals and all aforementioned debris still remained so intense that some police officers couldn’t go inside,” the animal activists wrote.
Police sent the teenaged boy to a local hospital for a psychological exam, but no arrests were immediately made, a police spokeswoman confirmed.
After members of the AAPA relocated the pets to undisclosed locations, they fired off the scathing letter to James — in which they panned the allegedly slow response from NYPD officers, and the lack of cooperation from law enforcement throughout the ordeal.
“We ask for your assistance due to the fact that NYPD egregiously mishandled this case and failed to follow the protocol in order to prosecute all the involved perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law,” the letter reads. “We believe the perpetrator will do this again, based on multiple witnesses testifying to this fact, as the family owns multiple locations in Brooklyn and Staten Island.”
Representatives of the daycare center at the location declined to comment. The Carollo family could not be reached for comment.