Nearly 100 rabbits are up for adoption after being removed from "inadequate conditions" in Chandler.
Benjamin Ruiz-Juarez was arrested for animal cruelty and neglect to animals on March 22 after police responded to a trailer park near Frye Road and Arizona Avenue.
A woman said she was looking for a cat when she discovered rabbits in multiple cages, according to a police report.
The woman contacted the property owner who said she had not leased the land to anyone. When police arrived to the scene, they discovered that the conditions of the animals were inhumane.
“...Rabbits were found panting heavily due to the temperature outside,” a police report said. “The water bowls had hay in them and were dirty and had mold. The cages were stacked on top of each other allowing feces and urine to fall into the cages below.”
Last year, Ruiz-Juarez violated city code after goats, chickens and rabbits were found on his property. A police officer recognized the suspect’s wife, Angela Dominguez Florez, who he spotted near the area.
Florez said the animals belong to Ruiz-Juarez and he was keeping them as pets, and despite the overcrowding and deplorable conditions of the cages, she said her husband “treats the rabbits better than he treats her,” police said.
Ruiz-Juarez is facing multiple charges including animal cruelty resulting in serious physical injury, intentional neglect or abandonment and recklessly failing to provide medical attention to a suffering animal.
The Arizona Humane Society says they were contacted by Chandler police after officials discovered a rabbit breeding operation.
An Arizona Humane Society spokesperson says many of the rabbits were held in one cage.
“There were males and females housed together,” AHS spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said. “Even after we rescued them — as we are moving the rabbits into foster homes — they are multiplying and having more babies.”
Nelson explained that it was apparent that some of the older rabbits had been neglected for a long time
“There was a great deal of feces and urine and some of the older rabbits were stained from feces and urine,” Nelson said.
It took emergency animal medical technicians hours to remove all of the animals from the property and they were taken to a trauma center after the breeding operation was found, AHS said.
According to an AHS spokesperson, the rabbits, which range in age from 14 weeks to 2 years old, are now ready to find their forever homes. However, because there are so many of them PetSmart is stepping up to help.
Several PetSmart locations held an event on Friday afternoon to help find new homes for the rabbits.
Ariana Kurtz, a woman who recently rescued a rabbit said she’s in disbelief over the conditions that the animals were kept in.
“It’s just ridiculous that somebody could be so heartless and have that many animals when you can’t possibly take care of that many,” Kurtz said.
If you missed the event, but are still interested in adopting a rabbit four PetSmart stores in the Valley have rabbits up for adoption. You can also visit the Humane Society Campus for Compassion to rescue one of the fluffy friends. The adoption fee is $35.