Cleanup continues after hundreds of dead animals found in Laton

Kate Nemarich Image
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Cleanup continues after hundreds of dead animals found in Laton
The Central California SPCA is investigating the property where hundreds of animals were found dead in Laton.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- For days, the Central California SPCA and Fresno Humane have been working to rescue sick animals and deliver food and water to others on a Laton property.

The animals eagerly accepted the food after being found living in what was called "deplorable" conditions-surrounded by the carcasses of hundreds of other animals.

On Friday, a passerby reported the property to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

They found nearly 300 animals and hundreds more carcasses when they arrived alongside Fresno Humane.

A few hours later, deputies arrested 41-year-old Carl Mendes at his home on child neglect charges. He will likely face animal neglect charges, according to the sheriff's office.

Four teenagers at the home were taken into Child Protective Services custody.

Mendes was seen back at his home on Monday.

RELATED: "Total disarray": Man arrested after hundreds of dead animals found in Laton

Over the weekend, he declined an on-camera interview but told Action News that the animals living there were not neglected and that he hopes to help facilitate new homes for them.

Since Friday, animal agencies have been working to remove animals needing urgent care from the property, including several baby goats.

The CCSPCA is leading the investigation and provided Action News with a statement that read:

"At this time, Central California SPCA is unable to comment on the ongoing investigation of the animals discovered in Laton last Friday. Our humane investigators are currently collecting evidence. The baby goats we seized from the property are currently in our care and responding well to medical treatment."

Other animals have remained on the property during the investigation.

The animals are considered evidence and will remain in the care of the county and CCSPCA as the investigation continues.

The Fresno Department of Public Health and contractors are working to remove animal remains from the property.

Investigators say Mendes told deputies he went to auctions and bought animals to nourish and restore them to health.

Mendes operates Mendes Livestock Auction Company, located inside the Fresno Livestock Commission.

The Livestock Commission's website directs those interested in consigning poultry and rabbits to contact Mendes' company.

They declined to comment on Mendes or the investigation.

The county couldn't say how long the investigation would last or when Mendes could face animal neglect charges.

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