Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Neighbor's call leads authorities to ill man, dead animals

GARRISON WELLS Updated: January 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

The house at Saint Rose E. Arveson Shrine has been condemned by the city after “multiple” dead animals were found inside, according to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

The man who lived in the house was taken to a hospital.

Colorado Springs police were contacted at 10:30 a.m. Monday by a neighbor to check the welfare of an elderly man who lived in the house, said Lt. Tom Harris.

“The party was contacted and we got him medical,” Harris said. “There were deceased animals, which would account for the smell, and the house was condemned.”

Neither the man’s condition nor his identity were provided.

Police contacted the Humane Society, which sent Sgt. Ryan McFadden, officer Ben Schar and others to investigate.

“They condemned the whole place,” McFadden said, blocking media from the site. “There’s a bunch of hazards.”

Humane Society spokeswoman Gretchen Pressley said conditions were so bad that investigators were forced to wear hazmat suits and respirators.

“We found multiple dead animals and were able to take a live cat from the house,” she said.

The live cat “was very skinny,” she added, but its condition won’t be known until it has been examined.

Cruelty to animals charges that can range from a misdemeanor to a felony could be pursued against the man who lived in the house following an investigation and necropsy of the animals.

“We need more information before knowing what to charge them with,” Pressley said.

The shrine, at 3540 W. Pikes Peak Ave., is a large sanctuary with a wood etching of Rose Ella Scott Arveson Simmons. The house next to it — where the animals were found — is where Rose and her two daughters lived.

The daughters were convinced that their mother performed miracles and was a saint, and tried unsuccessfully to get their mother recognized by the Vatican.

After she died in 1963, they built the shrine in the yard.

The shrine rests up the hill from Pikes Peak Avenue, past a statue of Jesus, through an arched iron entryway.

At one time a popular tourist site, it has fallen into disrepair.

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