JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – There was a disturbing discovery at a home in Jefferson County when animal control officers found hundreds of live and dead rats and reptiles Wednesday evening.
Working off a tip, along with the rats, animal control officers found nearly 100 live geckos and roughly 60 live exotic snakes living in a garage at a home near Hampden and Kipling.
“We received a call from Jefferson County Animal Control, they are one of our animal control partners, and they let us know they would be bringing in a mass number of animals,” said Foothills Animal Shelter spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says it appears the homeowner was running a breeding program and selling the animals to pet stores. They call the situation the animals were living in “poor conditions.”
The 123 rats were being kept in large black plastic containers that had no light and minimal ventilation. Animal control officers also said the animals were not being fed property, resulting in cannibalistic behavior.
The rodents and geckos are now being cared for at the Foothills Animal Shelter where they could eventually be adopted out to loving families, but the animals aren’t ready for adoption.
“They are in a little bit of an evaluation process. So we’re wanting to make sure health-wise that they’re doing okay,” said Strickland.
“Also for us, you know, we’re all about providing nice companion animals to the community so we also need to be sure the animals can be handled safely,” said Strickland.
Until they are ready for adoption, the animals are being kept in an area closed to the public. Strickland said the evaluation process could take weeks.
“For us it’s always about education and making sure people understand what every type of pet requires,” said Strickland.
The 60 exotic snakes found in the home were not seized by animal control officers because they were being cared for properly.
The West Metro Drug Task Force was also called in and seized about 100 marijuana plants from the home.
The homeowner hasn’t been identified but could face charges for animal cruelty and cultivation of marijuana.
LINK: Foothills Animal Shelter