Animal cruelty charges have been filed against an Arizona man after 183 dead dogs, rabbits, birds, and other creatures were discovered in a freezer, including some that were probably frozen while alive, according to officials.
Deputies and animal control officers discovered the critters in a garage freezer on April 3 after a woman reported that Michael Patrick Turland, 43, had failed to return snakes she loaned him for breeding, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday. Turland had previously rented a property in Golden Valley, a rural town in far western Arizona, where the freezer was found.
Dogs, turtles, lizards, birds, snakes, mice, rats, and rabbits were among the frozen animals, according to the statement.
“Several of the animals appeared to have been frozen alive due to their body positioning.” The Sheriff’s Office said they were kept in a “large-sized chest freezer.”
The frozen animals were apparently discovered by the home’s owner while cleaning after Turland and his wife left. According to the statement, the owner subsequently contacted the woman, who then notified the Sheriff’s Office.
Turland was arrested at the home on Wednesday after deputies received information that he had returned to the property, according to the agency.
“When interviewed, Turland eventually admitted to placing some of the animals in the freezer when they were still alive,” the statement said.
Turland, who was arrested on 94 charges of animal cruelty, did not have a counsel listed in court records who could comment on his behalf.
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