Cannibalistic Rats Found, Seized from Pot Grow House

To our knowledge, Westword has never before published a post about cannibalistic rats.

But that's appropriate, because we're guessing the officers who discovered hundreds of rats, both dead and alive, in the garage attached to a marijuana grow house hadn't seen anything quite like what they discovered Wednesday, either.

About 10 a.m. on June 17, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, dispatchers received an anonymous tip about "a large number of rodents living in poor conditions in the garage of a home."

Animal control officers were soon dispatched to the address, located on the 3700 block of South Moore Street. The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View larger map."

Inside, the JCSO notes, officers found what are described as "a large number of homemade 'cages' containing both live and dead rats," as well as a large supply of additional creatures apparently being bred for sale to pet stores.

The final count: 116 dead rats, 123 live rats, four dead mice, six live mice, 96 live Geckos and sixty live exotic snakes.

By the way, the aforementioned "cages" were actually large, black, plastic containers that weren't exposed to light and had little ventilation. In addition, a number of them were filled with water in which some of the dead rats were found floating.

But while water was plentiful, food apparently wasn't. As a result, the rats resorted to what the JCSO dubs "cannibalistic behavior."

The surviving rats and mice were transported to the Foothills Animal Shelter, while the snakes were allowed to stay; they're said to belong to another individual and were receiving proper care.

Thus far, the JCSO isn't naming the homeowner,  but the office notes that he could face animal-neglect charges, as well as allegations related to the discovery of what's characterized as an illegal marijuana grow inside the home. The West Metro Drug Task Force is on the case and seized approximately 100 plants as evidence.

Presumably, the plants weren't eating each other. Here's a larger look at the photo of the garage supplied by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts