Thousands of animals, many dead, found in California warehouse

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thousands of birds, reptiles and other animals, many of them dead, were found inside a warehouse in a Southern California industrial complex on Friday after police investigated odor complaints.

"We came across what appeared to be hoarder situation," said Sergeant John Minook of the police department in Montclair, some 40 miles east of Los Angeles.

"Thousands of chickens, domesticated birds, reptiles, fish, dead animals, feces, urine, no ventilation."

The Inland Valley Humane Society, which was called by police to help the animals, said in a written statement that its workers had rescued more than 1,000 birds.

"Between 1,000 and 2,000 chicks and chickens as well as 100 exotic birds were being kept in appalling conditions," it said. "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 birds were being evaluated and would be found homes, officials said.

Minook said that a person, who had been arrested earlier in the week on unrelated charges from another jurisdiction and was in jail, was suspected of living illegally in the warehouse.

The suspect was not identified by authorities.

He said the warehouse was piled to the ceiling with newspapers, furniture, trash and "junk" belonging to the suspect, who will likely face animal cruelty charges.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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