Hoarding Horror: 3 Children, 246 Animals Taken from Reprehensible Edgewater Home

Authorities who arrived at 2721 Royal Palm Drive in Edgewater, Florida on Sunday found three adults, three children and 246 animals of various species at the home covered in feces and urine with some rooms that had ankle-deep garbage, according to police.

Adults of the house included Susan Nelson, 43, Gregg Nelson, 57, and Melissa Hamilton, 49 — they’re facing three counts of child abuse and 66 counts of animal cruelty charges, police said.

Edgewater police Chief Joe Mahoney said on Monday, “I have been to many bad houses but that is probably the worst house I’ve ever entered,” he added, “I felt bad for the little girls. It’s just sad.”

According to arrest reports, on Sunday around 1:50 p.m., Gregg Nelson called police to report that he had decided to end his relationship with his wife, Susan Nelson, and his live-in girlfriend, Hamilton.

On October 20, 2019 EPD Officers were dispatched to 2721 Royal Palm Drive regarding a well-being check of three…

Posted by City Of Edgewater Police Department on Monday, October 21, 2019

Nelson wanted to take his three children, but since Susan Nelson would not let him he called police, telling them he believed the home was uninhabitable for the children, investigators said.

“It was immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly,” according to a statement released Monday by the Edgewater Police Department.

When officers arrived at the residence on Sunday, they found three girls ages 8, 9 and 10. Along with “a dead guinea pig in a cage, rotting food, animal feces and urine throughout the residence,” the release said.

While police were at the scene, Gregg Nelson complained of chest pains and was taken to AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach.

The live-in-girlfriend Hamilton revealed she had swallowed 17 Xanax pills in an attempt to end her life. Hamilton said she was going to lose everything and she felt as though she had no reason to continue living, police said.

The children were taken by the Department of Children and Families and were placed with another family member, the release said, while Edgewater police and Edgewater Animal Control removed the animals and brought them to the Edgewater Animal Shelter. Many of the animals require medical care, according to a Facebook post from the shelter.

As you may be aware the shelter has had a large influx of animals this evening. Many of these animals need medical care….

Posted by Edgewater Animal Shelter on Sunday, October 20, 2019

Amanda Leclair, managing veterinarian of the Edgewater Animal Shelter said that once all the animals were assessed Sunday night and authorities determined they had to be seized, Leclair called rescue groups and friends around 10 p.m. Sunday and had the animals removed. She commented, it appeared an animal breeding operation was going on at the home.

In all, there were four dogs, two cats, nine living guinea pigs, 12 rabbits, four hamsters, 10 sugar gliders (small, flying opossums), 14 birds, one gecko, one tortoise, one hedgehog, seven bearded dragons, one leopard spotted gecko, 95 mice, 60 adult rats and 23 baby rats, the release said.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Neighbors said in general they had complained about dogs barking late at night and the barefoot children running down the street after loose dogs, but had no idea otherwise of the circumstances.

Mahoney said that a call for service in the last three years to the home showed that animal control and code enforcement had been previously called to the home but none of the reports generated indicate there was neglect of children.

“There is no egregious reports made, nothing that said children were being neglected,” Mahoney said. “Last night, when we were called and determined that the children were in danger, we acted on it.”

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