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Hundreds Of Rats Removed From Las Cruces Home; Some Show Evidence Of Fighting

Animal control officers spent much of Thursday removing hundreds of large, feral rats from inside a Las Cruces, New Mexico rental home.

Authorities were called to the home after 55-year-old Debra “Debbie” Martin had fallen inside her home and needed help.

When help finally came, rescuers had to pull her from a floor covered in rats and feces

Las Cruces animal shelter director Beth Vesco-Mock said the rats – some sickly and displaying evidence of fighting – are about the size of a four- to five-month-old kitten.

Animal control officers had taken two skinny dogs and about 170 rats to the shelter by mid-Thursday, and officers estimated there were at least that many rats still hiding in the home.

Officers also found the fur and skeletal remains of two dogs that were presumed to have been eaten by the rats.

“There’s a narrow walk way from room to room. In that walkway, it’s covered in feces. You can hear little rumblings. It’s a first of a kind for me,” said Gino Jimenez, a Las Cruces animal control officer.

Martin’s neighbor, Rocio Cardenas, saw the rats and said he expects he will be having nightmares about them for a while.

“All I can say is it’s very stressful,” Cardenas said. “I haven’t seen them that big.”

Authorities have charged Martin with three misdemeanors for excessive waste, improper care and maintenance of animals and dead animal removal. Each of the charges carry a maximum fine of $500 or 90 days in jail.

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