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Thousands of animals found dead in Montclair industrial unit

Thousands of animals were found dead and thousands more were rescued from “appalling conditions” at an industrial warehouse in Montclair.

The discovery was made Thursday afternoon after police obtained a search warrant to check on the space on 4650 Arrow Highway, according to Sgt. John Minook of the Montclair Police Department.

Sgt. Minook said thousands of birds, reptiles and chicks were found dead in the building, although an exact number was not immediately available. Almost 2,000 chickens, parakeets, lovebirds and 100 exotic birds were being kept at the site, the Inland Valley Humane Society said in a press release on Friday.

“There was little ventilation provided. Rescue Officers could not find any food or water for the birds. The warehouse was covered in feces and filled with trash,” the release stated.

Officers made the discovery after arriving at the location on Tuesday to serve an unrelated arrest warrant, Sgt. Minook said.

“It was at that time there were suspicions there were animals inside of the unit and we had to obtain a search warrant in order to be able to go in,” Jim Edward of the Inland Valley Humane Society said.

The unit, G-11, had no outdoor signage and the entrance was peppered with different kinds of plants. A foul odor could still be detected at the site as of Friday morning. The complex is located just east of the border with Claremont.

Peggy King, who owns Hometown Electric, a nearby business at the complex, described the owner as “some kind of hoarder” who had been at the location for about three years.

But it was only within the last few months when things began to take a turn, Ms. King said. Noises could be heard from the unit and a strong smell emanated from inside. About two-dozen portable plastic storage tanks were placed in front of the business.

Ms. King said he would spend a lot of time in front of the unit.

“He would walk his dog, smoke a cigarette and scratch his stomach,” Ms. King said.

Ms. King said complaints were made to the property management, but nothing was done.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is still in custody and is facing several felony animal cruelty charges.

The surviving birds are currently being evaluated and cared for by the humane society and the SPCA, the humane society said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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