By Perris Jones
NORMAN, Oklahoma (KOCO) — Three men have been charged in an animal cruelty case out of Norman.
Hundreds of exotic animals, including kangaroos, camels and ostriches, were found severely malnourished – some to the point of eating the bark off trees.
In late April, authorities removed more than 350 animals from the East Norman property while executing a search warrant.
Police said most of the animals were deprived of food and water and lived in deplorable conditions.
“We’re talking about animals as small as cockatoos, various bird species and reptiles, all the way up to camels,” Norman Police spokeswoman Sarah Jensen said. “Investigators began to notice reoccurring trends with all of these animals that they were extremely malnourished a lot of them were dehydrated they didn’t have access to water that wasn’t covered in mold.”
Police said four animals died and a number of animals needed veterinary care.
The owners of the property, 41-year-old Aaron Stachmus and 31-year-old Bryson Anglin have been charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty. Also charged is 37-year-old Mark Parker, the man they hired to take care of the animals.
Court documents show he told investigators he was only in charge of feeding and providing water to the large animals on the property – not the smaller ones.
“But even those large animals were still showing signs of malnourishment,” Jensen said.
Police also said the owners were already under investigation by the city because of the exotic animals they kept illegally.
“They were working with the city to have these animals relocated to an area that would be appropriate and within city ordinance,” Jensen said.
Officials said the animals have been moved to sanctuaries and rescues across the state.
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