Couple faces charges after Suffolk SPCA finds cats living in filth

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Authorities say homeowners Michelle and Michael Tashbook were arrested and each charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. Authorities say homeowners Michelle and Michael Tashbook were arrested and each charged with nine counts of animal cruelty.
BAY SHORE -

A Bay Shore couple faces animal cruelty charges after nearly a dozen cats were found living in filth in a Suffolk home.

Nine cats were taken from a Manor Lane home in Bay Shore. Authorities say homeowners Michelle and Michael Tashbook were arrested and each charged with nine counts of animal cruelty.

Suffolk SPCA Chief of Department Roy Gross says they got a call just after 1 p.m. Thursday about the deplorable conditions of the house. He says the 12 responding officers had to wear protective gear inside the home.

"The smell was overwhelming,” says Gross. “There was trash piled up all over the place. You couldn't even move through the house, there were cats running around in there. There was feces all over the floor and urine soaked."

The cats were taken to a local animal shelter for evaluation. The SPCA says the animals didn't look emaciated, but that they had enough to charge the couple because of the poor conditions of the house.

"The house was condemned by the fire marshal, so that should tell you that it's uninhabitable,” says Gross. “So it's uninhabitable for people, it's uninhabitable for animals.”

A couple standing in the driveway got into a car and took off when News 12 got to the house. Neighbor Joan Bove says she saw people at the Tashbooks’ house several years ago cleaning it out.

"Taking garbage out of the house. They had full suits on, covered head to toe in plastic,” says Bove. “The people that were there they were there for several days taking things out of the house."

The Tashbooks were released on bail and are due back in court in September. If convicted, they face fines and jail time. They would also have to register with the Suffolk County Animal Abuse Registry.

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