NORTH MERRICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A woman has been arrested after police said her two children and more than a dozen dogs were found in “unsanitary living conditions” inside a Long Island home.

Yvette Seibert, 36, was arraigned Wednesday on charges including endangering the welfare of a child and neglect of an impounded animal and torturing or injuring animals/failure to provide sustenance.

A town notice on the front door of Seibert’s Aster Avenue house in North Merrick declares the structure “unfit for human occupancy.” In the yard, crates, empty dog food bowls and bags of trash could be seen, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

Police said the Nassau County SPCA was investigating an animal cruelty complaint at the house Tuesday afternoon when they discovered 15 dogs inside living in crates with no food or water.

“There was a strong urine and fecal odor. There was dried fecal matter strewn across in the carpets,” said Matthew Roper with Nassau SPCA. “Upon knocking on the door looking for her, he smelled the odor of urine through the door along with the frenzy of the barking of the animals.” 

Seibert’s daughters, ages 8 and 14, were also found living inside the home. The initial complaint was a letter sent to County Executive Ed Mangano’s office saying the children were walking around the neighborhood looking for food, Grymes reported.

“There was not a clean living space throughout the house,” Roper said.

The letter, which came from anonymous neighbors, cited “appalling” conditions with “hungry,” “filthy and disheveled” children who were “always asking for food,” and often “home alone” and “missing school.”

CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported officials found hoarded garbage throughout the house that was stacked knee-deep.

“It was deplorable,” Nassau County Police Lt. Richard LeBrun said. “Feces on the floor were dry and urine smell emanating throughout the house.”

The girls were brought to an area hospital for an evaluation and were found not to be malnourished. In court, it was revealed that they are now staying with Seibert’s father-in-law, who is a retired NYPD officer. 

The dogs were removed and taken to the Town of Hempstead animal shelter and will eventually be put up for adoption.

Police said Seibert turned herself in to authorities.

Some neighbors defended Seibert.

“The kids were very well-kept,” a neighbor named Kim from across the street told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “Clean, nothing was wrong with the kids. She’s a good mom, a very good mom.”

Seibert’s husband, Roy, was a Suffolk County police officer before he died in an accident in 2008, D’Auria reported.

Her lawyer declined to speak to reporters following her arraignment. She was released and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported that animal hoarders start out with different motivations.

Gomez said there are three types: an overwhelmed caregiver who starts out providing adequate care for the animals they’re attached to, but gradually lose control of the situation; the rescuer who has a compulsion to rescue animals from possible death or euthanasia; and the exploiter who acquires animals for their own needs and is indifferent to the harm they may be causing them.

Gomez also said animal hoarders have some elements of several different mental conditions such as addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder and focal delusional disorder, where the hoarder is out of touch with reality.

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