Back in March, 54-year-old Gretchen Rell was arrested after police discovered that she had been hoarding boxes filled with over 300 dead birds at her mother’s home.
Rell, of Ocean Township, New Jersey, was just indicted Monday on two counts of animal cruelty. In addition to the few hundred dead birds she had been hoarding, police also discovered that she had kept the bodies of turtles, possums, rabbits, mice, and other animals that couldn’t be recognized due to how decomposed they had become.
Rell herself was a Monmouth County SPCA volunteer and had taken in the animals over the course of a year. Monmouth SPCA’s chief officer Victor Amato says that although her situation is extreme, they don’t think that punishing her to the fullest extent of the law would be the right thing to do.
“Gretchen was well intended. She is a nice person,” said Amato to the Asbury Park Press. “But what happens is they get overwhelmed and don't know how to ask for help. They get carried away. It's hoarding, no matter what.”
Rell, who worked with the MCSPCA for 15 years, was indicted and released after her arraignment at Monmouth County Superior Court. If convicted of animal cruelty, Rell could face three to five years in prison.