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Arrest follows discovery of animal menagerie at home in Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 16 October 2015

Mexican salamander (pictured) were found at the house with dozens of rodents, fish, birds and a bearded dragon lizard      /PA Images

Mexican salamander (pictured) were found at the house with dozens of rodents, fish, birds and a bearded dragon lizard /PA Images

PA/Press Association Images

More than 30 animals including two Mexican “walking fish” were found at a home in Hornchurch.

More than 30 animals were found in cages by police at a home in Elms Close, Hornchurch  /Photo: Sgt Charlie RoutleyMore than 30 animals were found in cages by police at a home in Elms Close, Hornchurch /Photo: Sgt Charlie Routley

Police were called at an address in Elms Close on Monday where they found dozens of caged animals in unhealthy conditions.

Sgt Charlie Routley told the Recorder police found two wild rabbits, 10 hamsters, 10 birds, one bearded dragon lizard, a large quantity of fish and two axolotl salamanders.

Both salamanders, two budgie birds and one wild rabbit were dead.

A 40-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

More than 30 animals were found in cages by police at a home in Elms Close, Hornchurch /Photo: Sgt Charlie RoutleyMore than 30 animals were found in cages by police at a home in Elms Close, Hornchurch /Photo: Sgt Charlie Routley

The salamanders found at the house, also known as “water monsters”, are listed by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as critically endangered in the wild.

They originate from the canal systems in Mexico City and have formerly been thought to be near extinct in the wild.

But the species, which can be legally purchased, is one of the most common amphibian pets in the UK.

Pc Anthony Kiddle, Havering Police’s wildlife officer said: “If any person has large amounts of animals which they are unable to look after correctly, there are several avenues they can use to rehome them.

“One being to contact 101 and ask for me direct, or to contact the RSPCA.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We encourage people who are thinking about taking on an exotic pet to research the needs of the particular species thoroughly and ensure they can meet them at all times.

“Caring for exotic pets can be challenging and often the cost of the equipment required is much higher than that of the individual animal.”

All seized animals were taken to the RSPCA to be re-homed.


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