Saturday, May 18, 2024

An image of a coati in MSPCA care, taken from a video posted by the organization.

Several animals, including four South American coatis that are illegal to own as pets in Massachusetts, were rescued Monday from “dirty” cages in the back of a U-Haul in Cambridge, according to the MSPCA animal rescue and care organization.

The person connected to the U-Haul, whose identity has not been released, is under investigation, the group said. MSPCA members were with Cambridge and environmental police officers and Cambridge Animal Commission staff on Monday as the animals were rescued from the moving van at Pacific and Sydney streets in Cambridgeport.

“Someone reported animal noises coming out of the U-Haul, which prompted a response,” Jeremy Warnick, director of communications and media relations for Cambridge police, said Friday.

The U-Haul driver may face animal cruelty charges, Warnick said.

With the raccoonlike coatis in the U-Haul were two Chinchillas, a rabbit, two rats, three Quaker parrots and three love birds. One of the Coatis managed to escape from the U-Haul but was found Tuesday and brought to the MSPCA’s Jamaica Plain center by the Cambridge Animal Commission Officer, the MSPCA said.

The organization posted a video of a rescued coati on Thursday:

The animals who are able to be placed for adoption will be available in the coming days, while the coatis may go to a wildlife sanctuary.

“Not only are [the Coatis] illegal to keep as pets in Massachusetts, but they have complex social and health needs that are very difficult to meet in a homelike environment, so we’re hoping that either a sanctuary or other wildlife-focused organization or a zoo will ultimately be able to take them in,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at MSPCA-Angell in Jamaica Plain. “We’ll keep them safe and happy in our care, as best we are able, until we find a more permanent solution for them.”