MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - On Wednesday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio called an animal crimes investigation in Mesa the "most unusual" he has seen, after nearly 100 animals were removed from a home there.
Investigators found dogs, lizards, snakes, and even spiders, all living in what is being described as filthy conditions. Many of the animals are in bad shape.
"They were severely dehydrated," said Bernard Mangone with the Palm Glen Animal Hospital. "We have some of the bearded dragons that drank for 10, 15 minutes. The lizards are underweight. The snakes are infested with mites. We have done some fecal samples on the snakes, and they have internal parasites."
In addition to reptiles, 35 dogs were found.
"Most of them were in fairly good condition," said Mangone. "But they were very dirty, covered in feces, and had significant skin problems."
Mangone, who is working with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to care for the reptiles, said investigators also found an Australian Blue Tongue Skink, an animal that is fairly rare in the wild. In addition, a number of spiders were found, many of which are poisonous.
"The people who keep them as pets should understand what they are dealing with, and how to deal with them," said Mangone. "They do require a significant amount of care. It is not an animal that you can just put in a cage and forget about."
Most of the animals, when they are nursed back to a healthy state, will likely be put up for adoption. As for the people who were supposed to be taking care of the animals, MCSO is questioning three people, who may be facing possible charges.