2009-01-08 / Local & State

Police Find Woman's Body, 60 Birds In Pa. Trailer

By Maryclaire Dale ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police called to the unattended death of a morbidly obese woman found her disabled mother living in their squalid mobile home with more than 60 caged birds, a few of them dead.

The mother sought help from a family friend on Christmas Eve after getting no response to repeated calls to her daughter's bedroom.

The friend found Wendy Kresge's body in her bed. Police were called and discovered deplorable conditions and no running water in the Stroud Township home and deemed it unfit for either the surviving woman or the animals.

The mother, Judith Kresge, is not ambulatory and spent her time on a couch strewn with trash bags, clothing and other items, the police report said. She told police she kept a cooler with food in it nearby, although she could not find it the day they arrived. They found the bird cages filthy.

"Because of the handicapped mother, the condition of the trailer, the 60 birds, the nonfunctioning toilet, basically, we determined it to be unfit living conditions,'' Lt. Brian Kimmins of the Stroud Area Regional Police said Wednesday.

Judith Kresge was uncooperative, refusing to surrender the birds or leave her home after her daughter's death, officials said. A relative finally persuaded her to accept a move to an assisted living facility, while the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged her with animal neglect and cruelty in order to get a search warrant and remove the birds, Kimmins said.

The birds included macaws, parrots, parakeets and lovebirds, police said.

"I suspect that it was a typical hoarding case,'' Kimmins said.

Wendy Kresge, 45, who weighed more than 500 pounds, died of natural causes, the Monroe County coroner's office said.

Judith Kresge had last seen her daughter late on Dec. 23, and called the family friend the next day to check on her.

The home is located in a trailer park in Stroud Township, about 80 miles north of Philadelphia. Several welfare agencies were aware of the family, but the severity of the women's problems was not apparent, Kimmins said.

"They weren't off the radar. The Office of the Aging had a case, the SPCA had a case,'' he said. "They always seemed to be just below the level required to take action against somebody who does not want to be assisted.''

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