WJTV News Channel 12 - Exotic Animal Investigation

Exotic Animal Investigation

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Starkville - UPDATED 8/30/13 5:30 p.m.

Starkville police find a number of exotic animals at the home of a Mississippi State University veterinary student.

According to investigators, the student was not charged because they did not believe there was a threat to public safety.  They say the exotic animals were properly caged.

Authorities seized about 75 exotic animals, including frogs, snakes, lizards, South American and African birds and African cats.  The estimated total for all the animals is reportedly more than 100-thousand dollars.

The Starkville Police Chief says his department served a search warrant after receiving a noise complaint from neighbors.  A spokesman for MSU tells us this incident happened at a private residence off campus.

"We don't have control over what our students, faculty or staff choose to do in their private residences.  We can only be responsible and pro-active for what happens on the campus,” explains Sid Salter.

MSU is not releasing the student's name.  The person is a senior and is still enrolled in the College of Veterinarian Medicine.

Starkville police are continuing its investigation.  Authorities are looking into what, if any, charges could be brought against the student.

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Starkville authorities say noise complaints have led to the discovery of dozens of rare snakes and other exotic animals, including African cats and birds, at the home of a veterinary student.
    
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley says his department served a search warrant on the house Wednesday and uncovered an elaborate breeding operation.
    
Lindley says the suspect is a senior in Mississippi State University's veterinary program. Lindley declined to name the student because he hasn't been charged with a crime and is facing only a misdemeanor violation from the city. However, Lindley says state and federal authorities also are investigating.
    
The student was ordered to remove the animals from the city because they violate local ordinances and authorities don't have facilities to hold them.

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