Two people have been arrested in connection to a "house of animal horrors" in Westport.

Westport Police Sgt. Antonio Cestodio says the one of the owners of the home at 644 Sanford Road contacted the Town's Animal Control Officer on September 25 in order to have several cats removed because of a flea infestation. When the Animal Control Officer arrived, she found the house abandoned by it's owners, and discovered two dead dogs, a dead bearded dragon lizard, and several live cats.

Cestodio says the flea infestation was so bad, when investigators found one of the dogs in a closet, they thought it might have still been alive. "When they got closer and removed the dog, they determined that it was all the fleas that were on the animal that actually made it appear that the dog was breathing."

The two deceased dogs were American Eskimo breeds, and were about 12 and 6 years old. One was found in a trash bag in a dumpster on the property, while the other was discovered in a closet in the home. The dog found in the closet had a partially consumed paperback book in its mouth.

Investigators were unable to find adequate food or water for the animals, and the home was littered with feces and clutter. It's estimated the home had been abandoned for about six months.

Yesterday police arrested the owners, 45-year-old Nicole Botelho and her estranged husband, 52-year-old Stephen Botelho. They were arraigned at the Fall River Justice Center today for six counts each of animal cruelty.

A 17-year-old juvenile relative was summoned to court for the same six criminal charges.

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