GILBERT, Ariz. - Officials with the Arizona Humane Society say they and Gilbert Police officers removed hundreds of rabbits from a Gilbert home, almost exactly one year after 166 rabbits were removed from the same home.
According to a statement released by Bretta Nelson with AHS on the afternoon of August 5, the rabbits were removed from a property near Warner and Gilbert Roads.
"We took in 227 bunnies, and of those, 101 are actually babies, and there anywhere from little peanuts to juvenile, couple months old," said Tracey Miiller with the Arizona Humane Society.
Authorities were tipped off by a concerned citizen who felt the rabbits weren't living in the best conditions. After being denied access to check on animals, AHS got Gilbert Police involved.
"We have been conducting an investigation for the past six weeks," said Dani Covey with the Gilbert Police Department. "Our officers went out and served a search warrant living in terrible conditions."
The owner of the rabbits has been identified as 71-year-old Jed Judd. AHS officials say the animals were found in a 20x20 shed-like facility. Cages were placed on top of cages from floor to ceiling, and the rabbits were living in up to almost an inch in feces.
"Obviously, it's 100°F out, and you don't have the proper AC through the building, these animals are going to suffer," said Dani Covey with the Gilbert Police Department.
The animals had severe injuries, including nasal discharge, ingrown toenails, and hair loss. Nearly 12 of them are pregnant.
AHS officials say an 11-member rescue team, along with Gilbert Police, spent nearly five hours removing the animals. The rabbits were taken to AHS, where its medical team will examine the animals. The animals have been placed in a 10-day confiscate hold. An investigation by Gilbert Police is ongoing.
Similar incident happened in 2019
As mentioned above, AHS officials say almost exactly a year ago, 166 rabbits were removed from the same property. At the time, investigators say it took them five hours to remove all of the rabbits.
At the time, rescuers said the rabbits were in a shed with six to eight inches of feces stacked on top of one another. As a result, they were all in extremely poor health.
"I've been doing this job for six years and it is one of the worst hoarding cases I've ever seen," said Ruthie Jesus with the Arizona Humane Society.
At the time, AHS rescuers said the rabbits were bred as a hobby to sell and to butchers for meat.
"This particular individual doesn't seem like he's doing anything wrong as well," said Miiller. "He's selling these bunnies on craigslist and different forums for meat, and also for people who want pets."
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