ST. CHARLES, Mo. — A Missouri couple whose “extremely filthy” family home was overrun with reptiles and rodents was charged with child endangerment.
Officers found Michelle Higgins, 36, and Anthony Higgins Sr., 37, living with 157 snakes and lizards, about 1,000 mice and rats and mealworms in the St. Charles County home they shared with their two children, a girl, 13, and a 15-year-old boy, the Kansas City Star reported.
One deputy who went into the house was so overcome by the smell in the property he ran outside to vomit and had to use an oxygen tank and mask to complete his investigation.
“All I can tell you is the sheriff’s deputy that went in gagged and had to go outside and throw up,” county spokesman John Sonderegger told KTVI. “Then he came back in with oxygen from fire and rescue people. And the state family and children’s services worker got in there and she got sick, too, so it was a mess.”
Officials went to the home Saturday after receiving reports about possible child neglect and found the home in “extremely filthy condition,” according to court documents.
The couple told a deputy that the house had been in the same condition for two years, the Kansas City Star reported.
They reportedly said that they were aware that it was the wrong environment for their children but did not want to remove the animals.
The Higgins got the animals out of the house by Monday and the children were being cared for by relatives while the charges against the couple were being dealt with.