Slippery Rock Township couple charged with animal, child neglect

SLIPPERY ROCK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — State police in Butler said a couple in Slippery Rock is facing 115 charges for neglecting more than 60 animals at their home. Many of those animals starved to death.

State police said they made a disturbing discovery at a home along Saniga Road in Slippery Rock. They were responding to an animal neglect investigation in January, and they found 61 malnourished animals. 13 of them were dead including several alpacas, a dog and a duck. Police charged Kenneth and Nicole Hess.

The other animals were removed and taken to Anna Shelter in Erie. The director there described it as a barnyard gone bad.

>> 60 animals surrendered, 13 found dead at Slippery Rock home

“All very neglected, lack of food and water. Some starved to death, dehydration, some froze to death because they had no body fat,” said director of Anna Shelter, Ruth Thompson.

The shelter shared these photos of the animals rescued including alpacas, a bearded dragon, a tarantula, a horse, chickens, some cats and dogs.

Police said there was a lack of food and water for the animals. Many of them were extremely thin.

“It never gets easier. We are dedicated to the animals’ welfare and it’s hard to see when surviving animals have to live with dead animals,” said Thompson.

The director said they took care of them before rehoming the animals.

“They came to our barn and shelter and were taken care of by our veterinarians,” said Thompson.

State police said five kids also lived inside the home which was covered with garbage, feces and urine. The rooms the kids slept in were filthy.

Butler County CYS was called and deemed the home unfit for children.

Police said Kenneth and Nicole Hess were charged with animal cruelty and neglect and endangering the welfare of children. They are both awaiting their preliminary hearing.

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