MUNCIE, Ind. -
The Muncie Animal Shelter is taking custody of hundred of animals from a strip mall after finding a man living with more than 600 animals, including some that are exotic and dangerous.
Animal shelter officials found a long list of rodents, reptiles and birds in the 3100 block of Granville Avenue. More than 500 of the animals were mice.
A parrot found at the location started talking to animal shelter workers, saying "pretty bird" over and over again and asking, "What are you doing?"
Officials say the man living at the address had hoped to open a pet shop. A building commissioner found all the animals while he was inspecting a store next door Wednesday. He said he could smell the stench of the animals seeping through the walls.
There is actually a pet store just a few doors down, but Wednesday's discovery was not connected or related to that shop. When animal control officers arrived, they found walls covered with baby mice and rats.
In all, workers found 29 rats, 541 mice, four turtles, a foot-long alligator, a frog, 12 hamsters and two pythons, eight- and ten-feet long.
"The smell of the animals was incredibly overpowering. You could tell right away there was a serious volume of animals that I have never experience here before, especially with the rodents and things like that," said Phil Peckinpaugh, Muncie Animal Shelter.
The owner will likely not face criminal charges, but instead, several city ordinance violations, because Muncie has very strict rules for exotic pets.
All of the animals will stay at the animal shelter until workers can find the best homes for them.