FLEMING | The stinging, unerasable scent of urine hung noxiously in the air surrounding Linda M. Edersheim's mobile home Thursday afternoon, baking in the persistent sun.
Inside the trailer — recently deemed uninhabitable by Fleming's code enforcement officer — the pungent smell of ammonia intensified, wafting off a furniture-cramped floor covered in a carpet of feathers, feces and food.
Following the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal's raid of Edersheim's home on Wednesday, the home was empty of occupants, save a couple cats and kittens slinking around and under the property.
Carol Russell, director of the Finger Lakes SPCA of CNY, said seven small-breed dogs, twenty birds and an unknown number of cats were found living in deplorable conditions in and outside the Fleming residence.
She said the dogs — now under the care of the shelter — were in "poor physical condition, all requiring bathing, extensive grooming and visits with veterinarians. Russell said a 6-month-old pug appeared to be suffering from limited eyesight.
Because the investigation is ongoing, Russell could not comment on the homeowner, the house or any possible charges. The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office — who assisted with the raid — did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The SPCA and Edersheim are far from strangers.
In 2003, 40 sickly birds and dogs — along with the bodies of a guinea pig, a couple rabbits and several birds — were removed from Edersheim's home after the owner of the trailer park tipped off the SPCA regarding the suspicious smell emanating from her home.
Originally charged with 62 counts of animal cruelty, Edersheim was fined $100 and sentenced to three years probation after she pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty. Edersheim was allowed to keep four cats, but ordered not to own, take in or take care of any additional animals until the probation department deemed she could.
"I've learned a good lesson, but it was the hard way to do it," Edersheim said after being sentenced in 2003.
Nine years later, Edersheim is once again hoarding animals.
Late Thursday afternoon, three volunteers assessed the conditions of some of the 20 cockatoos, Amazon parrots, blue and yellow macaws and lovebirds removed yesterday from the stuffed trailer.
As she helped lift a heavy bird cage hosting a white macaw into the bed of a truck, Dallyn Jenkins said the animals didn't appear to have been intentionally abused.
"Most of them, it's neglect more than anything else," Dallyn Jenkins, a longtime SPCA volunteer, said.
Speaking to the squawking and chattering birds in a soothing voice, Cindy Lee, owner of the Beverly Animal Shelter, detailed all the necessities the big birds were missing — proper food, toys and a clean, non-hazardous space to live.
She said many people adopt birds without realizing the feathered pets can live for decades.
"When you take this on, you're taking them on for a lifetime," Lee said. "People get them and don't know what to do with them."
After bringing the birds back to the shelter for medical treatment, Lee said she will work to find the neglected birds knowledgeable, dedicated families.
"My goal is to foster them out and get them into homes — homes forever," she said.
As he strapped the cages securely to his truck, SPCA volunteer Rich Byndas checked on the two kittens lodged in his back seat. He said seeing what conditions the animals lived in — along with the conditions Edersheim lived in — isn't easy to stomach.
"It's not new to me," Byndas said. "But it's still hard to see."