PHOENIX – A former Phoenix resident has been arrested by Phoenix Village Police on animal cruelty charges.
Steven C. Hart, 24, of 948 Shants Road in Jordan was charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, a class A misdemeanors under the Agriculture and Markets Law.
Hart formally resided at 86 Cherry Street in the Village of Phoenix.
The two-week investigation began when a village resident went to 86 Cherry Street to remove several aquariums from the front porch.
As the resident was moving the aquarium, he discovered a dead animal located inside the tank.
The resident notified village police who discovered five dead exotic animals packed in plastic garbage bags on the porch.
Entry was made into the vacant apartment where several other animal bodies were found in a second floor bedroom.
Officers noticed deplorable conditions inside the apartment with trash and animal feces thrown throughout.
It also appeared that some of the animals had attempted to borough through a wall into the apartment next door.
The Village Codes Enforcement Officer has since declared the apartment unfit for habitation.
The investigation revealed that Hart and his girlfriend had purchased 68 animals and had them all living together in the apartment.
The animals included: 1 Great Dane, 1 Burmese mountain dog, 2 Australian cattle dogs, 1 red-nosed pit bull, 7 cats, 1 Gannet (African cat), 30 ferrets, 4 chinchillas, 1 red-tailed boa snake, 2 ball pythons, 1 coastal carpet python, 2 Iguanas, 1 armadillo lizard, 2 bearded dragons, 1 blue and gold macaw, 2 prairie dogs, 2 squirrels, 1 red footed tortoise, 1 leopard tortoise, 1 gecko, 1 tegu (monitor), 1 chameleon and 2 hedgehogs.
They also had numerous rabbits, rats and mice that were raised for feeding and as pets.
The police investigation concluded that some of the animals died from neglect, while others died from starvation when Hart ran out of money.
The case is being investigated by Phoenix Police Officers Edward Cox and Michael Rathbun.
The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are possible.
Anyone with information please contact Phoenix Police at 695-2001.
Hart is due to be arraigned in Town of Schroeppel Court on June 13.