A Nevada mother and her adult daughter find themselves under arrest this week after sheriff’s deputies found them on Saturday, January 2, with what amounted to a small zoo in their home — a zoo that needed a good zookeeper.
But the most serious charges against 61-year-old Kathleen Dean and her 41-year-old daughter, Joleen Dean, came when the deputies, suspicious of what the interior home would look like after investigating the various animals running around the desert property, found three children living in what the deputies called “deplorable” conditions.
The deputies were called to the property on Corina Circle, a small cul-de-sac in an arid, desert area of Sun Valley, Nevada, by Washoe County Regional Animal Services officers, who had been summoned to the home to investigate the conditions of numerous animals running around unsupervised there, according to a report by KOLO-TV in Reno, Nevada.
When the Washoe Sheriff’s deputies arrived, they also took a look inside the house where they found even more animals — and that wasn’t all. Thanks to the dozens of animals living there largely unattended, the place was unfit for human habitation in the investigators’ estimation, according to a report on the This Is Reno news site.
“Deputies on scene observed deplorable living conditions due to the many animals living on the property and within the residence. Animal feces and urine was found throughout the house,” the Washoe County Sheriff’s Offce said in a prepared statement.
And living among the noxious excrement inside the home, the deputies also found three children, who they described as ranging in age from 11- to 14-years-old.
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Authorities, however, did not reveal whether or not either Joleen Dean — or perhaps her mother, Kathleen — was mother to the children, or indeed, what the relationship of the three children to the Dean women may have been.
The home was clearly dominated by the animals living there, both inside the Dean household in Sun Valley.
According to the inventory compiled by investigators, that menagerie of animals included the following.
- 19 cats
- 19 birds
- 10 dogs
- Six chickens
- Two ducks
- One turkey
- 25 sugar gliders
The last population of animals in the Dean home was perhaps the most unusual, given that the sugar glider is native not to Nevada but Australia, though according to the Pocket Pets animal care site, the small marsupial has been bred as a domestic pet in the United States for about the past 15 years.
As marsupials, sugar gliders are a relative of the kangaroo and the koala bear. The name “sugar glider” comes from a combination of the animal’s dietary preference and its method of getting around.
Sugar gliders — whose technical name is Petaurus — eat mainly fruit nectar and sweet vegetables. They are able to leap and glide from place to place in the air thanks to a stretchy membrane between their wrists and ankles that can make the sugar glider appear to actually fly, though in reality they simply glide, as their name implies.
The following video contains more information on sugar gliders, as well as footage of the animal in action, which could explain why they might make desirable pets, due to their cuteness.
But for the Dean women, 25 sugar gliders was just too many, along with the unmanageable population of other animals making homes in their residence, leaving their excrement throughout the unsanitary house.
The animals were all removed from the home and placed under veterinary care by the Washoe County Regional Animal Services department.
“Anyone wishing to assist with the care of these animals can donate to the Washoe County Regional Animal Services injured animal fund,” the sheriff’s office said in its statement.
The three children found in the home were also removed and placed in custody of Washoe County Child Protective Services.
Kathleen and Joleen Dean were slapped with three felony child neglect charges, along with 19 counts of animal cruelty, as well as two counts of keeping unsanitary conditions in their home.
[Photos By Washoe County Sheriff’s Office]