LODI — People living near a Lodi home said they would often hear roosters and dogs barking, but they had no idea there were dozens of animals, some diseased and dead, inside the home next door.
A “do not enter” sign was posted on the front door Wednesday as a junk removal company loaded up the items from inside.
Megan Dumlao spends her days cleaning homes on South Fairmont Avenue. She’s one of many living in the community who learned dozens of animals were found diseased, malnourished and dead inside and outside a home nearby.
“And now finding out that he had a bunch of animals and stuff that he wasn’t supposed to have is … I had no idea,” she told FOX40.
On Tuesday, Lodi police said they arrested 46-year-old Sayed Shah after a monthlong investigation.
“In regards to noise complaints with animals, a large number of animals,” said Lodi Police Detective Michael Hitchcock.
Inside the home, investigators found 20 dogs, 20 chickens, six pigeons, dozens of fish and a cockatiel living under poor conditions.
“Very little food for any of the animals to eat. Very little water that was left out for the animals in this heat,” Hitchcock explained.
Dumlao, along with several other neighbors, said there were some warning signs that something was wrong prior to Shah’s arrest.
“I looked and he had signs in his front yard pointing to the alley on the side of his house that said something about, ‘They cook meth in the alley,’” Dumlao said.
Police said they also found up to two dozen dead animals, including two dogs.
“It’s tough. I know that almost everyone in our department is an animal lover,” Hitchcock said.
The remaining animals were brought to Lodi Animal Services where staff said they have since found homes.
“So we actually have found foster homes for the animals but we do have lots of other dogs and cat that are currently here at the shelter,” said Kelli Styles with Lodi Animal Services.
While people in the neighborhood were happy the animals are safe, they have been keeping their eyes open for any more suspicious behavior.
“We have to hold each other accountable to live in a neighborhood that’s safe,” Dumlao said. “We have to know what’s happening down the street.”
Shah faces six counts of felony animal abuse charges. He’s currently being held in the San Joaquin County Jail.