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Arizona man faces charges after 183 animals found in freezer

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the man admitted that some of the animals had been placed in the freezer alive.

An Arizona man faces animal cruelty charges after 183 dead animals were found in a freezer, some of which were placed there while alive, officials said.

The dead animals, which included dogs, turtles, lizards, birds, snakes, mice, rats and rabbits, were found earlier this month in Golden Valley, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Michael Patrick Turland, 43, was arrested Wednesday after he had returned to the residence where the animals were found, the sheriff’s office said.

He was being held in jail Thursday night. Online court records did not appear to show the case, and it was not clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The animals were found at the property during a welfare check April 3, after a Phoenix woman who said she had given some snakes to Turland to breed reported that dead animals were found in a freezer, the sheriff’s office said.

The property owner said Turland had moved out of state, leaving the freezer in the garage, and deputies couldn’t contact him, the office said. At the time, it appeared from the body positions that several of the animals may have been placed in the freezer while alive, according to the sheriff's office.

“When interviewed, Turland eventually admitted to placing some of the animals in the freezer when they were still alive,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

More details about why the animals were there and what happened were not clear from the sheriff’s statement, and the investigation is said to be ongoing.

Turland was arrested on 94 animal cruelty counts, the sheriff’s office said.

Golden Valley is a community of around 8,000 in western Arizona, around 18 miles from the Nevada border.