Saturday, December 3, 2016

Arizona: 'Most unusual assortment of animals' at center of Mesa abuse case

ARIZONA -- The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on Friday released more information about an animal cruelty investigation in which dozens of animals – a variety of species – were seized from a Mesa home.

"This was the most unusual animal crimes case involving somewhat exotic animals that I have seen in 24 years," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is wrapping up his long tenure at MCSO, said in a news release Friday afternoon.


A total of 79 animals -- mammals, reptiles, birds and arachnids -- were taken from the home on Wednesday, well more than the original estimate of nearly 40.

MCSO said the animals "had been left in deplorable living conditions without access to food and water while locked inside inadequate cages."

Locked in these crates possibly 24 hours a day each
of these crates contained Huskies, Dachshunds and
nursing mothers with puppies
Although dozens of dogs were seized, this was not your average dog or cat hoarding situation. The animals in this case run the gamut.

34 adult dogs
2 puppies
1 vinegaroon (sometimes call a whip scorpion)
11 boa constrictors
3 ferrets
1 turtle
3 iguanas
1 hedgehog
5 bearded dragons
1 blue skink
10 birds (5 budgies, 4 cockatiels, 1 umbrella cockatoo)
7 tarantulas

Investigators believe that the animals were being raised to be sold.

The animals are now in the care of the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit and will eventually be available for adoption. Arpaio created MASH in 2000 not only to support his Animal Crimes Investigation Unit but also to "care for the abused and neglected animals seized in their investigations."


At this point, no arrests have been made, but MCSO said those responsible for the animals could be facing up to 71 misdemeanor counts.

"Detectives are still waiting on some of the veterinarian’s medical evaluation reports for a number of animals to determine whether additional charges will be added," according to an MCSO news release.

When the animals are ready for new homes, information will be posted on the Sheriff Joe Arpaio's MASH Unit Facebook page.


Public records identified the homeowner, who advertises her services online as a mobile dog groomer. A woman who answered the business line hung up Thursday when the caller identified themselves as a reporter. The Republic is not naming the homeowner because she hasn't (yet) been arrested or charged.

(Tucson News Now - Dec 2, 2016)


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