The gray stone house looked tidy and inviting from the outside, but what police found inside the small assisted living home in Homestead, Fla. was bad enough to trigger a felony charge.
The Alita and John Haran ALF has been shuttered by city officials after police found its four elderly residents living with 48 cats and 16 dogs, piles of animal feces on the floor, and the bodies of a dozen dead cats in a freezer, according to reports in the Miami Herald. The facility had doubled as an assisted living facility and an animal shelter. The 73-year-old owner of the facility, Eileen “Chea” Haran, was charged with four counts of elder neglect and awaits arraignment later this week.
The police were alerted in early February after a resident had escaped the home and begged a stranger for help. Officers found several residents with urine-soaked clothing living in filthy conditions. “The smell was unbearable,” Sgt. Jorge Cruz, the lead investigator, told the Miami Herald. “I took 20, 30 steps inside and I had to turn around and exit.” All four residents were removed safely by social services.
The incident is not the first time police had been called to the property, which opened in 2002. Over the years, several residents have left the home seeking the help of neighbors and law enforcement. The facility lost its license in 2007 after inspectors found 30 deficiencies, yet the ALF stayed open until 2009, the Miami Herald reports. The site was issued a new license in 2012.
City officials closed the facility Feb. 3, declaring it unfit for habitation.
Photo credit: Carl Juste, Miami Herald.