It was the odor that gave it away. Alarmed by an appalling smell wafting from a southern California warehouse, police made a grim discovery late Thursday: as many as 1,000 dead animals. Another 2,000 or so parakeets and exotic birds, chickens, fish, reptiles, and other creatures were rescued from the facility. Police arrested the man living there on unrelated charges, though he’ll face animal cruelty charges as well, KTLA reports. The trash-filled warehouse in a Montclair industrial park “was just piled with cages and birds. There were 15 to 20 cages piled up, water and urine on the floor, animals on the floor,” Montclair Police Sgt. John Minook tells the Los Angeles Times.
Minook calls the gruesome discovery “probably the worst I’ve seen in my career.” The Inland Valley Humane Society rushed to evacuate the living animals and spent Friday removing cages packed with dead reptiles and other critters in various states of decomposition. Cops made the find while investigating the unidentified man living there on another matter. The man had lived there for three years but began acting “bizarre” recently, says Peggy King, an office manager in the complex. “Animals being delivered, the smell, the noise, him roaming around … [at] all hours of the night,” she tells KTLA. He allegedly attacked someone who worked there the week prior, she says. (A serial cat killer got jail time.)