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Police were called out to the home shortly after 9:30 a.m. by an individual requesting a welfare check on a female at the home — based on comments she made on social media. While that information was unfounded, police were quickly redirected to deal with the “obvious” living condition issues.
Police say conditions in the home were “deplorable” — calling the home a “hoarder home” based on pathways through the home to negotiate through stacks of clothing and various belongings.
331 living chinchillas were pulled from the home. They were housed in the living room and dining room of the home — which is a rental property, police say.
25 dead chinchillas were found in the garage and a chest freezer in the basement.
Police say the smell of ammonia was so overwhelming that officers contacted the Waukesha Fire Department. Fire officials tested the environment with specialized equipment and deemed the air unsafe to breathe, and the residence uninhabitable.
“This group of cages came form Kaytee. We got 30 cages from them. We’ve gotten donations of cages from the public and we’ve been able to set up some separate wards,” Olenik said.
Chinchilla Villa at Haws. These little creatures are really quite sweet and gentle.
However they are very resistant to being picked up. But they do enjoy human companionship on their terms. And they are quite good at escaping their cages. Houdini would be a great name for most of them! They sleep all day and at night they party hard.
50-year-old Garrett Rees and 39-year-old Tricia Rees of Waukesha each face five misdemeanor charges including child neglect and mistreatment of animals... If convicted, Garrett and Tricia Rees each face up to nine months in prison and a $10,000 fine on each of the five charges.
Garrett and Tricia Rees will be in court for their initial appearance on June 15th.
The chinchillas have been at HAWS since they were seized in March — and they have been multiplying.
“At last count, we had 158 boys. We had about four born last week and eight born the week before... Based on the gestation period of 111 days average, we could be having babies until after the Fourth of July,” HAWS Executive Director Lynn Olenik said.
Get the adoption papers ready! After more than eight weeks of legal wrangling, hundreds of chinchillas seized from a Waukesha home can be sold to new owners...
“We are starting with 270 that we can adopt out and we are hoping to get the rest of them soon,” said Smieja.
The babies and moms will go into foster care, while the remaining chinchillas stay on as evidence in the criminal case.
There were few that they were not allowed to be adopted out because the either had babies or are the babies and need to be weaned off.
There are also 50 that cannot be adopted out because they are still owned by someone else and they are going through court now.