June 6, 2007 in Nation/World

Officials clear rat-packed home

Francisco Vara-orta Los Angeles Times
 

LOS ANGELES – An 81-year-old woman was found Monday afternoon by Los Angeles Animal Services officers in her home with more than 100 rats and 35 other animals she kept as pets.

Wanda Langstom was taken to a hospital to be treated for animal bites, after her arms were covered with open wounds likely caused by her animals, said Annette Ramirez, an animal-control officer with Los Angeles Animal Services.

Animal-control officers also seized the animals that included about 120 rats – most in cages, but some were running loose – as well as 25 rabbits, a dog, six parakeets, a quail and a cockatiel.

“Langstom basically became overwhelmed at how quickly the rats reproduced. She said it just started with two but it got out of hand,” Ramirez said.

Members of Animal Service’s Anti-Cruelty Task Force visited Langstom’s home in the Wilmington neighborhood Monday to investigate “deplorable conditions,” as described by a tip from someone who visited Langstom’s home after seeing an ad for a rabbit in a local newspaper earlier that day.

“Once inside, the person saw all the cages and how the situation was bad for both the animals and the resident,” Ramirez said.

Most of the animals were healthy, Ramirez said, but two rabbits needed medical attention.


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