DHS Takes Child From 'House Of Filth'

Thursday, October 8th 2015, 6:47 pm
By: News 9

A child welfare check turned into two arrests and the discovery of an animal hoarding situation in Newalla.

Investigators with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said they cannot believe a 10-year-old was living in the home.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office had to call in the animal rescue group Bella Foundation to try to round up as many of the cats as possible.

“It's like a giant litter box,” said Jessica McLaughlin with the Bella Foundation. “There is trash everywhere, there is no designated sleeping areas and everything is just covered with trash and feces and urine."

Animal rescuers wrangled up nearly 30 cats living in and around the house on Daniel Circle in Newalla.

They also found an opossum.

“We are wearing the masks because the smell is so overpowering it will make you sick if you don't have a mask on,” McLaughlin said.

A 10-year-old autistic boy who lives at the home missed several days of school then got violently ill when he finally showed up to school, so DHS went to the boy’s home.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office assisted and the investigator said his eyes started watering when the family opened the door.

“It just hits you and it's terrible,” McLaughlin said. “There is no open windows in there, so it's all just staying in there and there is flies and bugs everywhere."

Deputies arrested the boy's mom, Lisa Ann Ferdinando, and sister, Tiffany Rusgrove, on a complaint of child neglect.

The boy is now in state custody.

“This is no place for children to be raised in,” Oklahoma County sheriff's office spokesman Mark Opgrande said.

Inside the home, the investigator said he was confused to find new big screen televisions, a new electric guitar, gaming systems and a new computer among the filth.

“Sometimes you live in a situation and maybe you get used to it as it goes down and so you're not maybe as aware,” Opgrande told News 9.

Rescuers said most of the cats are in good shape; better shape than the child.

“It's heartbreaking to all of us when you come to a scene like this to see that people were actually living in these kinds of conditions,” Opgrande said.

The Bella Foundation is taking all the cats to the veterinarian to get checked out.

The agency hopes to put the cats up for adoption soon.