UT employees connected to 421 animals seized at home

None of the 421 animals seized from a Caldwell County home earlier this week came from a UT resource center. That's according to a University of Texas spokesman who confirmed the couple living in the house are employees at the center.

A few chickens can still be seen scurrying around the house on Misty Dr in Uhland where more than 400 animals were found. They were discovered inside the house and in the back yard crammed into crates and sheds.

"That was pure evil living across the street right there, that many animals all at once no wonder my dog was losing her mind when she comes outside," said a neighbor Matt Haffelder.

Those who live in the small residential community just east of Kyle are thankful officials moved in and moved the animals out.

"I guess it was a case of hoarding, from what I understand, it was a slow build up that just kind of got out of control," said Haffelder.

Animal control officials with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Department started removing the animals on Monday. They found 28 dogs, 15 goats, 26 rabbits, 9 pigs, 86 snakes, and more than 200 exotic animals like ferrets and lizards as well as different types of birds such as doves, pigeons, ducks and turkey. When authorities arrived they found  animals malnourished, some sick and several others were already dead.

"As soon as I started making observations I knew that we were going to be in a bad situation, based on just the amount of dogs that I saw and their living conditions, I knew that this wasn't something that could be corrected within a reasonable amount of time," said Animal Control Deputy Hannah Garrett.

Investigators identified the woman who allegedly collected the animals as Sarah Arevalo. She has not been arrested because the case, according to Sheriff Daniel Law, is being reviewed by the district attorney.

"We really haven't been able to substantiate why, it looks like a hoarding situation but it's hard to believe with this array of animals from anywhere from livestock all the way down to tarantulas and other reptilian creatures ... there's no telling," said the sheriff.
   
Arevalo live in the house with a roommate identified as Joseph Flores. He declined to speak to FOX 7 as he unloaded a box from his truck.

A UT spokesman says Arevalo and Flores both work at the University animal resource center which manages animals used for research. Both have been placed on leave and no animals are missing from the center.

The surviving animals from the Caldwell County seizure are currently being care for by the SPCA of Dallas. Without the organization Sheriff Law said his office would've been overwhelmed.

"Would we have been able to save them all? Probably not and I don't even know if they're going to be able to save them all because some of them were in bad shape," said Sheriff Law.

Investigators say the conditions inside the house were filthy because of all the urine, feces and food that had not been cleaned up. Air samples were taken in the house and the conditions inside were considered to be toxic.

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