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animal cruelty charges after police raid home

 Posted on January 11,2013 in Dealing with the Police

Law enforcement raided an upscale home in Castro Valley Tuesday after receiving a tip that someone may have been selling marijuana from the home. When officials went inside, they claim that an alligator was found in a tank in a bedroom of the residence. Authorities say that they thought the alligator, technically a 16-year-old dwarf caiman, was guarding marijuana. The caiman was found in a two-foot by four-foot tank.

During the raid, officials say that law enforcement also seized roughly 34 pounds of marijuana. A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drug charges, including possession of marijuana for sale and possession within 1,000 feet of a school. Meanwhile, authorities transported the dwarf caiman to the Oakland Zoo. Authorities have added animal abuse charges to its accusations against the Castro Valley, California man.

Law enforcement announced Thursday that the 16-year-old caiman was undernourished when officials took custody of the animal. Authorities believe that the animal was given inadequate living conditions at the Castro Valley home. The latest allegations were announced after the caiman died a day after authorities took control of the animal.

Law enforcement claims that the animal was "very stressed out when he got to the zoo," according to an Oakland Tribune story printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Police assert that the Castro Valley man had obtained the caiman when it was small. Authorities estimate that the reptile was about 16-years-old when it died at the Oakland Zoo.

The raid apparently was based upon an anonymous tip left on a voice mail with authorities. The man was booked into jail and now faces drug and animal cruelty charges. The next court appearance for the accused was scheduled for January 15. Authorities say that the man has been arraigned and bail was set at $20,000.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Pot-guarding caiman 'Mr. Teeth' dies at Oakland Zoo; owner charged with animal abuse," Natalie Neysa Alund and Erin Ivie--The Oakland Tribune, Jan. 10, 2013

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