WAUKESHA (WITI) -- Officials on Sunday, March 29th removed more than 300 chinchillas from a home in Waukesha -- a home that's being described by authorities as "unlivable."
Police were called out to the home near Melody and Laura Lane Sunday for a welfare check. They found the home to be unlivable -- with a Waukesha Fire Department battalion chief describing the conditions inside the home as the worst he's seen in 30 years on the job.
Law enforcement and Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) crews worked to remove more than 300 chinchillas from the home. We're told at least two dozen of the animals are dead.
Crews described a high level of ammonia in the home, likely due to the number of animals that were being kept there.
"Initially when we got in there, there were elevated ammonia levels from all the urine inside the house from animals," Mark Sweet with the Waukesha Fire Department said.
Two adults and one child were at the home when crews arrived Sunday. We're told two other children also live at the home.
"They were raising chinchillas in there. Our fire marshal deemed it not livable in there. The parents living there found other places to live. There was an adolescent child who has been placed with other family members for now," Sweet said.
Officials say all family members who were living in the home appear to be in good health.
Property records show a Pewaukee man has owned or co-owned the home since 2007. It is unclear whether he lived at the home.
Richard Schetter, who lives across the street says the home has been a nuisance property for years -- with an over-growing lawn in the summer and unshoveled sidewalks in the winter. But neighbors say that's nothing compared to what they couldn't see.
"Never saw a cat a dog or any animal. They were just strange. I hope they burn the house down. I don`t know how you can stand the smell of it," Schetter said.
Chinchilla fur is considered extremely valuable. In fact, the animal is now considered to be "critically endangered." Possible charges will likely be reviewed by the District Attorney's Office in the coming week.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.