She Didn't Get Her Snakes Back. Then Cops Found a Freezer

Michael Patrick Turland accused of stuffing 183 animals in Arizona freezer, some while still alive
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2022 11:04 AM CDT
Cops: Guy Crammed Nearly 200 Animals in Freezer
Michael Patrick Turland.   (Mohave County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – An Arizona man faces animal cruelty charges after 183 dead dogs, rabbits, birds, and other animals were found in a freezer, including some that were apparently frozen while alive, officials said. Local deputies and animal control officers found the animals in a garage freezer April 3 after a woman reported that Michael Patrick Turland, 43, hadn't returned snakes she'd lent him for breeding, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said Thursday in a statement, per the AP. The freezer was at a home that Turland previously rented in Golden Valley, a rural community in far western Arizona.

The frozen animals included dogs, turtles, lizards, birds, snakes, mice, rats, and rabbits, the statement said, adding that "several of the animals appeared to have been frozen alive due to their body positioning." The sheriff's office said they were kept in a "large-sized chest freezer." The home's owner reportedly discovered the frozen animals while cleaning after Turland and his wife vacated the property. The owner then contacted the snake owner, who notified the sheriff's office, the statement said.

Turland was arrested at the home Wednesday when deputies were told he'd returned to the property, the office said. "When interviewed, Turland eventually admitted to placing some of the animals in the freezer when they were still alive," the statement said. Court records didn't list an attorney who could comment on behalf of Turland, who was arrested on 94 counts of animal cruelty.

(Read more weird crimes stories.)

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