2nd arrest made in missing exotic wildlife case

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A second person was arrested by police Thursday morning after confessing to making false reports about missing exotic animals and a wildlife sanctuary.

Miami-Dade Police said Armando Mendez confessed to being involved in falsely reporting that animals from the We Care Wildlife Sanctuary were missing. Mendez is the second person arrested in this case, with the first being the owner of the facility, Josue Santiago.

Miami-Dade Police said Santiago reported a $50,000 theft of his primates and other exotic animals, even though he allegedly moved those animals to the Carolinas himself to avoid wildlife authorities who had been looking into the sanctuary.

Six exotic birds were mysteriously returned and left outside the property Tuesday morning, but more than a dozen tortoises and birds remain missing.

Mendez is in jail and was given a $2,000 bond.

If you know where the missing animals are, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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