Couple charged after 258 exotic animals seized from Montgomery County home

UPPER HANOVER, Pa. (WTXF) - A couple accused housing 258 exotic animals in a Pennsylvania home is now facing hundreds of animal cruelty and neglect charges.

Montgomery County authorities say the animals found in the Upper Hanover on Oct. 16 included turtles, alligators, ferrets, snakes, frogs, skunks, guinea pigs and rats in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Two of the animals seized, Southern Leopard frogs, belong to an endangered species.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jason Wieder and 33-year-old Melanie Rehrig each face felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and several misdemeanor charges.

Among the animals seized, say two snakes were reportedly found dead, and one had to be euthanized due to the severity of its condition. Officials say two tortoises and two guinea pigs were also unable to be saved due to their level of neglect.

According to prosecutors, many animals were suffering from severe dehydration and some had medical conditions that required veterinary care that was never performed.

The couple also faces numerous charges in Lehigh County stemming from a raid that uncovered 81 living and five dead animals in a Macungie home. The animals found there included 37 birds and 31 snakes, along with rabbits, pigs and dogs.

The two were released on $25,000 unsecured bail. Under their bail conditions, they are not allowed to own or have contact with animals. A preliminary hearing is slated to be rescheduled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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