Lizards, tarantulas among animals seized from Lansing home

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County Animal Control officers seized nearly 40 animals from a house in Lansing Thursday afternoon.

More than a dozen dogs and cats were removed from the home, along with a variety of exotic reptiles and pocket pets. Heidi Williams, the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter director, said the shelter took in about 40 animals, including an iguana, a tegu, a desert tortoise, a prairie dog, geckos, and tarantulas.

Williams said the animals were seized because they were living in unsanitary conditions and were not getting proper care.

Williams said they started looking at the house because of an anonymous tip.

Potter Park Zoo officials and other experts helped with the exotic animals’ seizure and the investigation.

Kirbay Preuss, the store manager for Preuss Pets, says exotic animals can be great pets when they are properly taken care of.

“In the case of iguanas, there’s a reason we don’t adopt out iguanas here and it’s because here’s a pet that most people think is one of the most commonly kept lizards and we’ve learned over 40 years that they require so much care that the average person just doesn’t have to give,” Preuss said.

The store holds educational sessions and teachings about lizards, tortoises and other pets you wouldn’t typically find at an animal shelter.

“There needs to be the proper conversation and education before these animals end up in the hands of just anyone,” Preuss said.

Neighbors say they know the person who lives at the house had pets, but didn’t know how many and now just hope they get proper care.

“I said I hope I sleep tonight because I love animals,” neighbor Deanne Harkmess said.

“Well, at least they’re going to a safe place I hope… I hope,” another neighbor Gwen Hall said.

Williams said the animals are being taken care of by professionals:

“The animals are all under the care of our veterinary staff. All the animals will receive a medical evaluation and they will be in the fine hands of our medical care staff getting some really great treatment,” Williams said.

Because of how many animals were seized, Ingham County Animal Control is restricting cat surrenders at the shelter until further notice.