The Main Stream

Apr 16, 2013 3:12 PM by Leasa Conzez

Dozens of animals seized in Pinal County animal hoarding case

FLORENCE, AZ - Dozens of animals have been seized in the third animal hoarding case this year in Pinal County.

The animals were removed from a double-wide mobile home south of the city of Maricopa near the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the animals are receiving care from Pinal County Animal Care and Control.

An anonymous tip led Animal Control officers to the properly last week. Pinal County investigators say the owners refused to allow officers to examine the property and they could not provide any proof of vaccination for the animals.

Investigators had to get a warrant to find out what was going on. They say many of the animals were kept indoors and not allowed to go outside. As a result, they say the home's floors were soaked with urine and the walls were heavily damaged.

In all, 26 dogs were taken, along with a large assortment of other animals. Many of the dogs have skin conditions, possibly mange and ringworm. Some, investigators say, also have facial deformities.

Officers also seized: 3 gerbils, some with skin lesions and broken legs, 9 roosters, all with mite infestations, 1 extremely overweight potbellied pig, 1 goat with lesions on its front knees from walking on them because its hooves were overgrown, and one bird.

Investigators say the owner claimed some of the 26 dogs were spayed. The male dogs were not neutered and the owners could not produce vet records or proof of rabies vaccination.

Even though Pinal County Animal Care and Control doesn't have jurisdiction over fowl and hooved animals, they consulted with state officials and then also took the roosters, pig and goat from the property.

"Cases like this just break our hearts. Not only were there too many animals kept in unsanitary conditions, most were suffering from a lack of basic care," said Animal Care and Control Director Kaye Dickson. "This is our third case of excessive animals or hoarding for 2013 and I hope it is our last. We are grateful to have many volunteers who are trained to assist with these large cases so we can assess the animals on intake."

None of the animals are up for adoption at this time. Animal Care and Control needs to assess each one and then petition a judge to award custody of the dogs to Pinal County before deciding if any can be rehabilitated and put up for adoption.

In addition, Pinal County Building Safety officials examined the property and told the homwonwer the corrective measures that must be taken to ensure the property is safe for occupancy.

Marijuana and a shot gun were also found and taken into custody by Pinal County Sheriff's deputies, who assisted on the call.

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