Suzanne Eser, a 58-year-old from Peabody, was stopped around 9:30 a.m. on Monday for a "motor vehicle violation," officials said. During the traffic stop, police allegedly spotted the animals inside the vehicle.
Even from the outside of the van, Wethersfield Police Department wrote on Facebook that "several small dogs [were] visible in the front passenger compartment."
Inside, the vehicle was "covered in garbage and animal waste," officials said. Eser allegedly told investigators she and the animals had been living in the Ford Transit van for several months.
In total, 21 dogs and a Macaw bird were removed from the vehicle and transported to a local animal shelter. Several of the dogs appeared to have serious health issues, police said.