Authorities spent hours removing more than 20,000 animals, dead and alive, from the U.S. Global Exotics warehouse on Tuesday in what may be the biggest animal seizures in the country.
Arlington Animal Services served a civil seizure warrant on U.S. Global Exotics, a company that imports then sells exotic pets including chinchillas, wallabys and various reptiles and insects.
"Just the number of dead animals or dying animals -- I've never seen anything like this before," said James Bias, president of the SPCA of Texas.
Workers from the organizations will have to get an inventory of all the animals before they can get a real picture of how many animals were housed at the warehouse on the 1000 block of Oakmead Drive. Authorities brought veterinarians and animal experts from around the world to give insight on how the exotic animals must be cared for.
"Many of these exotic animals require (special) humidity and heat, proper ventilation, certain types of bedding and certain types of food. And the experts are in there saying they are certainly not getting what they need, and in their minds, there is severe cruelty going on," Bias said.
The seized animals were taken to an undisclosed location where they will be triaged.
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The owner of U.S. Global Exotics was not on site when the raid took place.
No criminal charges have been filed, but a civil hearing will take place within 10 days of the seizure. A judge will decide if the City of Arlington will get custody of the animals and, if they do, the animals will be shipped to various sanctuaries where they will receive proper care.
Federal authorities said they raided U.S. Global Exotics a week earlier for something unrelated. Authorities saw the deplorable conditions the animals were living in and called Arlington Animal Services, who began their investigation.