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400 Animals Kept In Toxic Conditions Rescued By People In Hazmat Suits

You know these animals were living in a special kind of hell when rescuers had to wear suits designed to handle hazardous materials - just to walk in the door.

A massive rescue at a house in Bellmore, New York, dubbed Operation Noah's Ark, took eight hours with more than 400 dogs, cats, birds and turtles.

In what's being called the county's biggest seizure of its kind, the animals were found living in conditions little short of toxic.

"Some of them were living in their own feces," Gary Rogers of the Nassau County SPCA said at a press conference earlier today. "There was a lack of wholesome, fresh sanitary air. It's a condition you wouldn't want to live in and we have a responsibility not to leave the animals there either."

And it wasn't the first time authorities visited this address. In fact, the house had been raided less than a year earlier. And the details of that raid bear an uncanny resemblance to this one.

In August 2015, investigators found nearly the same number of animals living in squalor at the house, including more than 300 birds, a 200-pound snapping turtle and a 4-foot-long alligator in a hot tub.

"The place is an abomination," Bob Sowers of the Nassau SPCA told Newsday at the time. "It is totally toxic."

After that earlier visit, Gary Gruber, the man who owns the house and a self-described animal "rehabilitator," was told he had to remedy the conditions or face animal cruelty charges.

Instead, in the months that followed, neighbors complained about the noise coming from his home.