An animal rescue worker in New Jersey is now facing allegations of animal cruelty after police discovered hundreds of dead birds in her mother's home.
Authorities seized more than 300 dead birds from the Little Silver residence where 54-year-old Gretchen Rell stayed with her 95-year-old mother, according to local reports.
The discovery was made after Rell's brother visited the house and informed authorities. The 54-year-old was taken into custody Monday as police removed 18 live birds and crates of animal carcasses from the garage and basement of the home.
"There’s boxes, piled on top of boxes, piled on top of boxes of dead animals," Monmouth County SPCA's chief law enforcement officer, Victor Amato, told NJ.com.
Rell reportedly served as an animal rescue volunteer for Monmouth County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on a sub-permit but was never given permission to possess the animals.
Authorities say they believe Rell took the animals to the residence to rehabilitate them and became overwhelmed. Another 60 animals were recovered from the Ocean Township home she shared with her husband, the Associated Press reports.
Amato added that animal cruelty charges will be filed against Rell for improper care once authorities establish the number of dead animals.
"We have more than 300 animals and counting," Amato told the Ashbury Park Press. "Ninety-nine percent are dead birds. Most of them are seagulls, pigeons, robins, wrens and loons."