Arizona

Jul 1, 2014 8:26 PM by Marissa Esquivel

Yavapai County man accused of animal cruelty to rats

YAVAPAI COUNTY - A Yavapai County man has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty charges.

On Monday, Yavapai County Health Services got a call from a citizen reporting numerous dying and dead rats in and around a trailer on the property.

When deputies arrived, they immediately smelled urine, feces and dead animal carcass' emanating from the property.

The trailer had a cage in the front section with several dead rats. Other cages near the end of the trailer had 300-500 rats, most of which where dead.

Inside the main house, deputies found aquariums with newborn and adult rats, which appeared to be in good condition.

Sheriff deputies said the temperature inside the trailer was over 100 degrees and the odor was overwhelming.

Deputies were able to determine that 28-year-old Jeffrey Wendorff was the caretaker of rats. He was located at a nearby business and detained.

Wendorff first denied any knowledge of animals on the property. Eventually, he admitted that he had stopped caring for the rats.

Wendorff said he was living at the location until a couple of weeks ago. Both he and the property owner had previously entered into a business partnership, breeding and selling rats. Wendorff told duputies that the arrangement allowed him to live on the property for free. Following a money dispute, Wendorff abandoned his duty as the primary caretaker, moved, and abandoned the animals.

Wendorff was arrested and charged with Cruel Mistreatment of Animals and Cruel Neglect/Abandonment of Animal, both misdemeanors. He was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center and has since been released on a promise to appear for court.

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