Suffolk County SPCA detectives seized 49 animals from a 79-year-old Ronkonkoma woman's home. NewsdayTV's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: NewsdayTV

Suffolk County SPCA detectives seized 49 animals from a Ronkonkoma woman’s home Tuesday and charged her with 49 counts of animal cruelty.

SPCA officers served a search warrant at a home on Motor Parkway in Ronkonkoma, where officials said Linda Hart, 79, had more than 40 dogs, cats and parrots in cages in her home.

The SPCA, Suffolk County police and sheriff's office and Islip Town officials removed the animals that were living in squalid conditions, Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said.

Officers searched the home following a complaint about animals in the home living in distress. Animals were found covered in filth, severely matted fur and thousands of maggots and flies, Gross said. The air was so noxious that investigators had difficulty breathing and some cages were stuck to the floor, Gross said.

“One of our officers said it was the worst they’d ever seen,” Gross said. “We get a lot of cases like this where owners think they’re doing the right thing, but it’s just not fair to the animals.”

Islip Town hazmat, animal control, building inspectors and fire marshals searched the home along with Lakeland firefighters to remove the animals.

The home was deemed uninhabitable and closed by the Islip fire marshal as a safety precaution, but it was not condemned, Islip Town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said. The home had no prior history of complaints or violations.

Every room of the house had dogs in cages, Gross said, which Hart said were kept as her pets.

Hart faces up to 1 year in jail on the 49 misdemeanor charges and up to a $1,000 fine, Gross said. She was ordered to appear in Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on April 22. Information regarding an attorney for Hart was not available.

The animals were being cared for, bathed and groomed at the Islip Town Animal Shelter by veterinarians, town officials said. The animals may eventually be available for adoption once they are rehabilitated and socialized, officials said.

SPCA officials said anyone who suspects animal cruelty can report it to 631-382-7722.

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