More than 60 animals were removed from this 20 Byron Street home Thursday morning. The building was secured and posted as an unsafe structure. Rumford Falls Times photo

RUMFORD — More than 60 animals were removed from a Byron Street home Thursday morning, which was described as a hazardous materials situation, Police Chief Stacy Carter said.

Two goats, a cat, 19 rabbits and 39 chickens were seized. Three dead rabbits were found inside and outside the residence. The attic area was being used to house a large number of pigeons.

Carter said in a news statement Friday that following complaints from neighbors about animals running around in the street and nearby properties, a patrol officer got the required legal documentation to seize those animals.

The resident, upon seeing officers approach, fled the area. Carter said that person is being sought and will face animal abuse charges.

At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Thursday, Carter said, “It was a basic farm running loose on Byron Street.”

“When we got there, the conditions of the residence caused alarm,” he said. “It was unfit to live in. For the safety of personnel, we had a (hazardous materials) crew in protective gear assist us in removing animals that had been deceased for some time.”

The Rumford animal control officer, partner agencies, the state animal agent, Rumford police and firefighters rounded up animals running loose in the street and adjoining properties.

Information was forwarded to the town’s health officer. The building was secured and posted as an unsafe structure.

The investigation was ongoing.

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