Raid seizes hundreds of animals from Bellmore home

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BELLMORE, N.Y. – Authorities say more than 400 animals were removed from a squalid Long Island home less than a year after a 4-foot alligator was removed from the property.

The Nassau Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the rescue - dubbed "Operation Noah's Ark" - lasted eight hours.

The raid came after neighbor complained numerous times about the noise and smell from one of their neighbors homes. The stench was so bad, investigators had to put on hazmat suits.

Animals were living in filthy water, had no access to food or water, according to officials.

It says the Bellmore home had a free-roaming skunk and turtles in slimy water in addition to bird cages filled with feces.

More than 250 birds and more than 150 turtles were seized Tuesday along with four reptiles and a dozen mammals, including rabbits, chinchillas, sugar gliders, and prairie dogs.

Authorities say homeowner, Gary Gruber, has been cited for having endangered turtles.

Gruber's attorney, Nathan DeCorpo, says people bring his client animals for rehabilitation, but that Gruber's own health has deteriorated.

Police executed a search warrant at Ocean Avenue home after the owner had been visited in the past.

In the first encounter with police, the owner promised to clean up the mess, but returned again, to find conditions had deteriorated.

"It's the worst things I've seen," one of Nassau's SPCA workers said.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report. 

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