Dozens of exotic animals, including snakes, spiders, and alligators seized in Utah
(KUTV) – Salt Lake County Animal Control officers inventoried dozens of exotic creatures Tuesday at a Midvale warehouse.
Among the animals, are venomous snakes, poisonous spiders, alligators, lizards, and dozens of turtles.
The animals reportedly belong to handler Jim Dix, who is well known to state animal authorities. The state has previously seized animals from Dix, including wolves, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, among others.
The most recent batch of exotic animals was stashed inside a Midvale business, which 2News is not identifying until the animals are removed. Business owner Zach Workman says he agreed to let Dix temporarily store the animals inside for a few days.
Days have now turned into weeks.
“He took advantage of the spacious area we have to come and lock his animals at our expense,” Workman told 2News.
Workman says Dix promised to remove the animals several times, but has never showed up. Dix is reportedly hospitalized while Workman has tried to care for the animals.
“I’ve done a lot of googling to determine what the species were and what their appetite is,” Workman said. “I mean the man has brought in crates unlabeled with just poked air holes in the crates - not knowing what’s in it, not knowing if you’re going to find a vicious alligator or a tub full of turtles.”
Dix reportedly suffered a heart attack and is in the hospital. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Feb. 7. He told 2News that people are looking after the animals.
Responding to people who have claimed he abandoned the animals, Dix said, "I'm hurt." Dix went on to explain how many years he has dedicated to saving such animals.
Salt Lake County Animal Control confirmed to 2News they have been investigating Dix for months. Spokesperson Callista Pearson said Dix has repeatedly moved the animals before investigators could seize them.
Within the last few weeks, animal control managed to seize 149 animals from Dix’s property in Magna. She said officers are expected to remove some of the animals from the Midvale business tomorrow.
Pearson added that state wildlife officials will have to respond to take the venomous snakes and spiders.
Dix may face charges, but Pearson said investigators are still reviewing the case and establishing a plan to care for the animals.
Salt Lake Animal Services reportedly took the adoptable animals, whereas the Division of Wildlife Resources took the more exotic animals.