Sixty animals are now in protective custody after they were seized from a Portland woman's home.
Elicia Diaz-Caceres was arrested Monday, charged with first-degree animal neglect. In court Tuesday, she pleaded not guilty and was released from jail as her court case is pending.
In court records, investigators with Multnomah County Animal Services said they were tipped off by a witness in March who reported animals tied to furniture and living in cages.
At that time, 52 animals, including rabbits, parakeets, guinea pigs, cats, kittens, dogs, puppies and a turtle, were seized from Diaz-Caceres' home on Southeast 70th Avenue after a search warrant was served there.
MCAS said they were living in unsanitary and crowded conditions with minimal access to food and water.
Since then, an additional eight animals have been seized from the home.
Neighbors who spoke with FOX 12 didn't want to show their faces but said it's been a battle for a long time.
"It's pretty shocking that she's had that many animals in there, it's a tiny apartment," one neighbor said.
Court records show that MCAS has a case file on Diaz-Caceres dating back to 2002, and investigators wrote that she has a history of abusing and neglecting animals.
In 2010, she was ordered to not have any animals in Multnomah County, but records show she's been investigated for failing to comply on nine separate occasions.
"Every time we would see her with more animals, we would call and make a report, just trying to get some kind of resolution," another neighbor told FOX 12. "Having talked with her, she makes it very clear, 'I love my animals, I'm fighting for my animals, I'm getting legal counsel to get my animals back,' so I don't think she realizes that she has an issue."
FOX 12 tried reaching Diaz-Caceres for comment, but no one answered at her home Wednesday.
A spokesperson for MCAS said all 60 animals are now either in a shelter or in volunteer foster homes while the final outcome is determined by the court.
They are not currently available for adoption.
According to court records, Diaz-Caceres no longer has animals living in her home.
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