By Elizabeth Matthews
Edwardsville, IL (KSDK) - A 56-year-old woman was arrested and 30 animals taken from her home amid accusations of animal hoarding, the Madison County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
According to Captain William Dimitroff, a sheriff's office spokesman, the Long Lake Fire Department and Ameren IP Corporation responded to a home in the 2500 block of Roney Drive after receiving calls reporting a natural gas odor.
Authorities discovered 25 dogs and 5 cats inside the home and saw the animals did not have proper vaccinations. The home was filled with pet feces and urine.
Dimitroff said sheriff's deputies were contacted and arrested the home owner, identified as Lisa Welborn. Madison County Animal Control officers responded and took custody of the animals.
Madison County Planning and Development determined the home unfit for occupancy and ordered the gas and electricity shut off completely.
Most people living around a situation like this might be annoyed, but not these neighbors. Everyone we talked to said Welborn was just trying to do the right thing.
The dog crate on the drive way and chew toys on the porch are the only things left after Lisa Welborn was arrested and her animals seized. Neighbors describe her as a lovely woman and everybody knew what she was doing.
"She's trying to help out the animals, they turned it into a bad thing," said Hans Seemiller, who has lived near Welborn since she moved here with her husband about 25 years ago.
Neighbors say her husband died several years ago and that's when Welborn started rescuing animals.
"Yes she would have a number of animals here, but then by the weekend or a couple of weeks, she found homes for them and ship them out," said Seemiller.
He says she would take the dogs and cats to the vet and find homes for them, sometimes shipping them across the country.
"She kept to herself she didn't cause me no problem, and I didn't cause her, she was very nice," he said.
The neighbors we spoke to all agree she was doing good, at times may have been in over her head, but didn't deserve to be taken to jail.
"This thing totally escalated into a horrific thing for her, and no telling what she's going through right now," said Seemiller.
Now her house sits quiet with a sign of unwelcome taped to her door.
The Madison County Sheriff's office tells me Welborn's animals will not be put down but all will find good homes.
Welborn has posted $100 bond, but if convicted of animal cruelty, she may face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.