From the home of would-be royalty to a property with conditions that made a seasoned animal-abuse investigator recoil.
That summarizes how George Bengal, director of humane law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, described the conditions inside the Kelly House at 3901 Henry Ave. in East Falls on Thursday afternoon.
Inside, investigators found 14 living cats and one deceased feline when they arrived with a warrant based on complaints to its cruelty hotline.
“Fleas, feces everywhere inside,” said Bengal of the scene inside a home owned by the 81-year old resident since 1973.
Bengal said the SPCA had fielded complaints for many years about concerns about cat hoarding inside, but investigators were never allowed inside the property before Thursday.
With news cameras outside, and helicopters swirling overhead, the storied Kelly property became a macabre neighborhood curiosity on Halloween. Among the neighbors passing by was Blaire Kelleher.
“It’s the Grace Kelly house. Everybody knows this house in the neighborhood. It’s history,” said Kelleher, who lives down the street. “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”
The owner, whose name was not released as of 5:30 p.m., was expected to be charged with animal cruelty after a psychiatric evaluation, said Bengal.
NewsWorks will bring you more details on this story as they become available.
Video by Matthew Grady for NewsWorks.
UPDATE: A Philadelphia Police spokeswoman said Friday morning that the home owner was “involuntarily committed” and, as a result, charges have not been filed. Police said they did not yet know whether any charges would be filed, either. While police didn’t release her name, various news outlets are reporting that the home owner is Marjorie Bamont.