A Palm Springs man was arrested after officials found more than 50 animals — many of them emaciated and in poor health — in a stolen van and two hotel rooms in Redlands, police said Friday.
Authorities are still unsure where Douglas John Yates, 56, acquired the dozens of animals, which included dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and exotic birds, Redlands police said in a news release.
Officers made the discovery after using a stolen vehicle recovery system to track a Penske rental van stolen from a Home Depot, said Carl Baker, a public information officer for the Police Department.
The van was found in the parking lot of the Motel 6 at 1120 W. Colton Ave. early Thursday morning, and Yates was located on the property and connected to the vehicle, Baker said.
Upon searching the van, police allegedly found four live animals and a dead guinea pig inside.
Redlands Animal Control officers then responded to assist and discovered additional animals in two rooms Yates was renting at the hotel, police said.
They were kept in cramped, filthy conditions with no room to move or access to water, officials said.
Among the animals were several breeds of dogs and exotic birds valued at more than $1,000 each in cages with “food and feces piled inches deep,” according to the news release.
Yates was subsequently booked on suspicion of 16 counts of animal cruelty, possession of stolen property and auto theft, police said.
Motel staff told investigators Yates had been staying there a couple of weeks, Baker said.
Inmate records showed he was being held on $105,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court Monday, March 12.
Animal Control officers took custody of the many animals and took them to the city shelter, where they are undergoing treatment.
The case remains under investigation.