PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona man was
arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after hundreds of dying or dead
domesticated rats were found inside a large trailer north of Phoenix,
authorities said on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Wendorff, 28, was arrested by Yavapai County sheriff's
deputies on Monday and could face two misdemeanor charges since the
discovery in Black Canyon City, about 50 miles from Phoenix.
Arriving deputies and animal control officers could immediately
smell a stench from the property and discovered 300 to 500 rates in
a pen in the back of the trailer and several others in a front area,
said sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn.
"The temperature inside the trailer was over 100 degrees and the
odor was overwhelming," D'Evelyn said in a statement. He estimated
that about 25 percent of the animals were dead.
Authorities said they were tipped to the gruesome scene by a citizen
who called the county health department after seeing the rats in and
around the large travel trailer.
Deputies also found several aquariums with newborn and adult rats
that appeared to be in good condition.
Wendorff told sheriff's deputies he was living on the property rent
free as part of a deal with the property owner to breed and sell the