Hefty bill expected to care for animals removed from Brookline home
Barbara Yogmas told police she acquired nearly 200 animals through Craigslist from people who no longer wanted them.
Caring for them will cost the Animal Rescue League an estimated $20,000, an official said Wednesday, because Yogmas and her mother were evicted from their Brookline home, described in court documents as being “beyond deplorable.”
Allegheny County Sheriff's deputies on Tuesday found 150 birds, 14 ferrets, 10 cats, seven dogs, seven Guinea pigs, three lizards, two geckos, one turtle, one hamster and one bearded dragon while serving an eviction notice on the Bay Ridge Avenue dwelling. Dan Rossi, the animal shelter's CEO, said it was the most animals the shelter has taken in at one time.
Several birds are infected with mites and will be quarantined for a few weeks before they are put up for adoption. Other animals will be placed into foster homes in the next day or so, he said.
Veterinarians are examining the birds and other animals, and each medical test costs several hundred dollars, said Rossi.
“When you add that up, that's a significant number,” Rossi said.
The rescue league is seeking monetary donations to cover the animals' medical expenses. The pets are being housed at the rescue league's East End facility and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on the North Side. The Beaver County Humane Society has offered to house some of the birds, Rossi said.
Pittsburgh police arrested and charged Yogmas, 45, and her mother, Barbara Courey, 70, with animal cruelty, endangering the welfare of a child and related counts, court records show. Yogmas' 12-year-old autistic son was taken into protective custody, police said.
According to a criminal complaint, the inside of the house was “beyond deplorable” and the stench of animal waste and urine was “overwhelming.”
Deputies served the eviction notice because “the bank reclaimed the house,” the complaint stated.
Officers noticed that Yogmas' son was not wearing shoes and his legs were covered with bug bites. The house was full of junk and clutter. Police wrote in the complaint that they did not believe the boy had a bed to sleep in.
Court records do not list an attorney for Yogmas or Courey. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.
Tony Raap is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.