08/08/2014 10:23 EDT | Updated 10/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Dogs, raccoon, snakes and caiman among animals seized from Oshawa home

Police arrested and charged an Oshawa man after they removed at least 34 animals including snakes, a raccoon and a caiman.

The man, according to neighbours, had been billing himself as an animal rescuer.

It was the strong smell coming from his home that alerted neighbours to something amiss.

Moe and Sandra Bergeron said they smelled something that was not right next door.

“The smell was terrible, if you went into the backyard you could smell it,” said Moe Bergeron.

Last week police arrived at the home after neighbours reported that they were concerned about a dog that was left in the backyard for a lengthy amount of time.

“They could see the place was abandoned for a number of days,” Sgt Bill Cader with Durham Police said. “The dogs didn’t have enough food or water and there were other animals in there as well.”

Three dogs, a raccoon, a turtle, a caiman and a number of snakes were rescued by police.

“When officers first entered inside they almost had to go back in with masks, it was that strong of a smell and again it was the dog urine, the dog feces, I don’t know what the raccoon left behind,” said Calder.

Matthew MacNeil, a neighbour who visited the house, said it was unsafe for humans and animals.

“Raccoon feeding off of a pregnant dog it was nursing from it, there were all types of reptiles in there iguanas, snakes,“ said MacNeil. “There was big butcher knives stabbed through the walls, all types of weird stuff going on there ... “

Under Oshawa bylaws most of the animals found are allowed, with the exception of caimans and raccoons — which are not allowed as pets anywhere in Ontario.

The 24-year-old was charged with four counts of failing to provide reasonable care for an animal.

Police said he’s negotiating with the OSPCA to get some of the animals back.