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An Arizona woman is being charged with 110 counts of animal abuse and cruelty after dozens of dogs were removed from horrifying conditions at her home. The woman is also being charged with one count of vulnerable elder abuse. Police have identified the individual as April McLaughlin. However, it appears that the individual went by several aliases, further complicating the case. Authorities were alerted to conditions at the property after several reports were made about conditions at the home. During the raid, officers were forced to don hazmat suits due to the squalid condition of the property where 55 dogs, most with special needs, were kept.
Source: 12 News/YouTube
The dogs were supposedly under the care of a rescue called the Special Needs Animal Welfare League. Instead, it appears that the individual was hoarding these dogs and failing to provide proper care. The dogs were found malnourished, living in filth, without adequate medical treatment, and many were kept without access to adequate water or shelter. The bodies of five puppies were also discovered in the home’s freezer in Chandler, AZ. One other person, McLaughlin’s elderly mother, resided on the premises.
Other rescue organizations had been attempting to alert authorities to suspected conditions in the home. They allege that McLaughlin would accept special needs dogs from shelters or rescues that could not accommodate their needs. However, once she had obtained the dogs, she failed to provide proper care. Indeed, she even took wheelchairs away from some dogs, leaving them all but immobile. Additionally, she did not provide adequate medical care to the dogs. A rescue in Texas repeatedly contacted authorities after one of their dogs was taken in by the alleged “rescue”. However, the Texas rescue became concerned about that dog’s welfare. Neighbors had also made complaints after becoming concerned about conditions at the home.
When an officer first arrived at the home, no one responded to his attempts to speak to the homeowner. After noticing smells emanating from the home and viewing the backyard, he contacted the Arizona Humane Society for help. When the Humane Society gained access to the home, they discovered several dogs in need of medical care. A raid on the home was carried out on the night of Friday, September 22 after a search warrant was obtained.
The home the dogs were living in was so filthy that it is reported the odors could be smelled from the streets. Due to the horrifying conditions, firefighters who entered the home had to wear special equipment to breathe inside. The house has been condemned as a result of the raid.
The Arizona Humane Society was on site to assist while officers removed the dogs from the home. The majority of the 55 dogs removed from the home had special needs. Many were elderly. Sadly, it is likely that many of the dogs will be euthanized due to their deteriorating condition after being kept in such an abusive, cruel situation. The dogs are currently in the care of the Arizona Humane Society, where they are receiving critical care.
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