BLACK CANYON CITY, AZ - Detectives investigating a case of dead and dying rats at a home in Black Canyon City are seeking a felony charge against the suspect, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
Jeffrey Wendorff, 28, was arrested on June 30 and charged with cruel mistreatment of animals and cruel neglect/abandonment of animals, both misdemeanors.
Authorities had been called to the home after receiving a call of dead and dying rats in and around a trailer at the home in the 19200 block of E. Abbott Street.
YCSO deputies and Animal Control officers found between 300 and 500 rats in containers, most of which appeared to be dead or dying. The temperature inside the trailer was estimated to be over 100 degrees.
Authorities went into the main home where they found several aquariums with newborn and adult rats which appeared to be in good condition.
When Wendorff was located at a nearby business he at first denied knowing about the animals but later admitted he’d stopped caring for the rats and assumed they had all died.
Wendorff had reportedly lived at the residence for free until a couple of weeks prior in a business arrangement to breed and sell the rats.
After a pay dispute, Wendorff said he left the property and abandoned the animals.
YCSO said the property owner is only a part time resident.
In addition to the added felony animal cruelty charge detectives are seeking against Wendorff, Yavapai County Developmental Services has opened an investigation into the property conditions with the land owner.