Animal cruelty charges have been filed against an Arizona man after 183 dead dogs, rabbits, birds, and other animals were discovered in a freezer, including some that were apparently frozen alive, officials said.
Deputies and animal control officers discovered the animals in a garage freezer on April 3 after a woman revealed that Michael Patrick Turland, 43, had failed to return reptiles she loaned him for reproduction, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday.
Turland previously rented a home in Golden Valley, a rural community in far western Arizona, and the freezer was located there.
According to the statement, the frozen animals included dogs, turtles, lizards, birds, snakes, mice, rats, and rabbits.“Several of the animals appeared to have been frozen alive due to their body positioning.” They were stored in a “large-sized chest freezer,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
According to reports, the home’s owner noticed the frozen animals while cleaning up after Turland and his wife left. According to the statement, the owner then notified the woman, who alerted the Sheriff’s Office.
Turland was arrested at his home Wednesday after deputies received information that he had returned to the property, according to the office.
“When interviewed, Turland eventually admitted to placing some of the animals in the freezer when they were still alive,” the statement said.
Turland’s attorney was not listed in court records, and he was arrested on 94 counts of animal cruelty.