Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16337
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment, Unlawful Trade/Smuggling
Animal: rodent/small mammal (pet)
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

County: Milwaukee

Disposition: Alleged

Abuser names unreleased

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Milwaukee police, fire and animal control were at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue on Thursday as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The Fire Department told 12 News it encountered at least 60 cages and tanks containing a host of animals including snakes, turtles, rats and at least one alligator, which was running loose inside an apartment. A fire battalion chief estimated the alligator was 4 feet long.

Milwaukee area domestic animal control is temporarily taking some of the animals and others are going to the Racine Zoo. The Milwaukee County Zoo also has representatives at the scene.

Police are not disclosing the nature of the original investigation but said it was not related to exotic animals.

Wednesday night, Milwaukee police and firefighters removed several large reptiles from another home in the 3400 block of South 17th Street.

Neighbors said crews removed anaconda snakes, crocodiles, spiders, turtles and more.

The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control is now handling the investigation.

Case Updates

Milwaukee police and animal control are back at the scene of what they call a massive animal abuse case.

It's the third straight day they've been working at the storefront and residence near 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue, and they're still searching for another man.

Teams have removed dozens of reptiles and rodents since the search warrant was first executed Wednesday afternoon.

It appeared the police, animal control, and zoo officials saved the biggest animals for last. Because police said they're evidence of a crime, they did not allowing close-up looks at the animal, but it was clear there were no small house pets.

"The two largest ones were probably approaching 100 pounds and 6 feet in length," said Racine Zoo President Jay Christie. "One was an African slender-snouted crocodile and the other has yet to be positively identified."

The Racine and Milwaukee zoos are among those helping remove at least 200 reptiles and rodents from the two stories and basement of the residence on South 13th Street.

Milwaukee police said they're looking to talk with the self-described reptile expert who lived there with a 50-year-old woman, who has already been arrested and accused of animal abuse and possession of endangered species.

According to her arrest report, the first officer on the scene found: "In the basement alone, mice and rats number in the hundreds formed a carpet on the basement floor."

"When you get into the house proper and you see," said Milwaukee Police Officer Ivan Wick. "I didn't plan on seeing the animals kept in the manner and condition in which they were and I was taken aback by it."

All of the animals seized have been taken to Milwaukee-area Domestic Animal Control centers. Reptile experts at both the Racine and Milwaukee zoos said they're reaching out to the animal care community to help care for the creatures while this case is pending.

Milwaukee police said it began as a sexual assault investigation. So far, no one has been arrested in relation to those allegations.
Source: WISN - May 14, 2010
Update posted on May 16, 2010 - 12:56PM 


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