More than 60 animals were recovered from a Williamson County, Illinois, home on Friday.
The Williamson County Sheriff's Office says it was called to do a welfare check at a home at 6286 Route 166, just north of Creal Springs, due to odor coming from the house.
Through the windows, deputies were able to see that the home was full of caged dogs, cats, and other animals. The floors were also covered in several inches of feces.
While deputies were there, 51-year-old Elisa Kirkpatrick returned home. She voluntarily went to the sheriff's office for an interview.
She told investigators that until sometime in 2014 she was a licensed veterinarian, but had lost her license due to complaints. She was, however, still doing surgeries in her home.
Kirkpatrick said that her clients didn't know that she was not a licensed veterinarian and that she picked up and dropped off the animals from her clients. No one had been to her home.
She said she had performed surgeries on cats and dogs on her kitchen island.
The sheriff's office was able to get a search warrant for the home, and firemen were sent inside wearing bio-hazard suits and full respirators. Inside, they found that the entire house was full of feces. There were also several deep freezers full of dead animals inside the home.
Crews were able to remove 41 dogs, 15 cats, a full-size pig, a pygmy pig, a rooster, a cockatoo, a bobcat, and an African serval. All of the animals are now either with shelters or rescue groups.
Some of the animals were in poor condition. One of the dogs Kirkpatrick operated on in her kitchen died over the weekend. Kirkpatrick told Local 6 that people dropped these animals off because they knew she "wouldn't turn them away." She added that none of the animals went hungry.
"I love my animals," she said.
Capt. Brian Thomas says it doesn't matter that they were fed. "To send humans in hazmat suits...but it's okay for animals to live in there does not work for me," he said.
Kirkpatrick has not been arrested. However, Captain Thomas says an arrest will be made and she will face charges including aggravated animal cruelty and practicing without a license.
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