PEABODY — A former Endicott Street resident, whose home faces foreclosure auction, has been charged with animal cruelty after police found her living in a van with 21 dogs and a bird.
Suzanne Muzaffer Eser, 58, was arrested Monday in Wethersfield, Conn., after police observed her black 2016 Ford Transit 350 HD XLT passenger van swerving as it traveled south on the Silas Deane Highway.
While talking with the driver, the officer saw at least nine loose dogs in the front passenger compartment, according to the police report. The officer, who said he was overwhelmed by the smell of feces and urine, gained access to the van and found it filled with more dogs, garbage and animal waste.
Eser told police she and the pets, including a Macaw, a king-sized member of the parrot family, had been living in the vehicle for months.
The dogs, some with serious health issues, were taken to animal shelters for further evaluation.
It is possible that several of the dogs may need to be euthanized, police said.
“The officer determined the dogs weren’t being cared for properly based on their condition and the condition of the van,” said Lt. Andrew Power. “They were essentially living in feces and urine.”
Eser was released after posting $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Britain Judicial District Court on Tuesday, June 11.
Eser bought her four-bedroom, single-family home in 1998 for $100,000 and took out an $88,000 mortgage from the Warren Five Cents Savings Bank, according to the South Essex Registry of Deeds. From 2000 through 2006, she mortgaged the property with home loans from Century Bank & Trust Co. and Members Mortgage Co. totalling $780,000.
Eser fell behind in her property tax and mortgage payments in 2017. The MIT Federal Credit Union started foreclosure proceedings after she owed nearly $14,000 in missed payments. An auction for the 129-year-old house has been scheduled for next month.