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Animal Services seizes 120 pet rats

June 06, 2007|Francisco Vara-Orta | Times Staff Writer

An 81-year-old Wilmington woman was found Monday afternoon by Los Angeles Department of Animal Services officers in her home with more than 100 rats and 35 other animals she kept as pets.

Wanda Langstom was taken to a hospital to be treated for animal bites. Her arms were covered with open wounds that were probably caused by her animals, said Annette Ramirez, an animal control officer.

Animal control officers also seized the animals, which included about 120 rats, most in cages but some running loose, 25 rabbits, a dog, six parakeets, a quail and a cockatiel.

"Langstom basically became overwhelmed at how quickly the rats reproduced. She said it just started with two but it got out of hand," Ramirez said. "Hoarding pets is something we see in Los Angeles frequently so it's not actually that rare a case."

Members of Animal Services' Anti-Cruelty Task Force visited Langstom's home in the 1100 block of Laguna Avenue on Monday to investigate "deplorable conditions," as described by a tip from someone who had visited Langstom's home earlier that day after seeing an ad for a rabbit in a local newspaper. "Once inside, the person saw all the cages and how the situation was bad for both the animals and the resident," Ramirez said.

Most of the animals were healthy, Ramirez said. A veterinarian was treating all of the seized animals, which are available for adoption in San Pedro at the Harbor Animal Care Center.

francisco.varaorta @latimes.com

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