The Apache Junction couple whose nearly 200 animals were seized by authorities in February will not be allowed to regain custody of their family dog, a judge ruled this week.
Apache Junction Municipal Court Judge David Alexander ruled in a civil hearing Wednesday on a request by Apache Junction residents John Michael and Lorraine Alltop to reclaim a dog that had been seized, along with about 185 other animals, in connection with a pending criminal animal neglect case. The Alltops were hoping to have their Great Dane, named Jaguar, returned to them, but Alexander denied their request, according to Apache Junction City Attorney Joel Stern.
Police were called to the Alltops' home in early February and found a menagerie of sickly, filthy and distressed animals littering the 1 1/4-acre property. Four animal control officers located 47 dogs, 96 rabbits, 18 chickens, 13 goats, six horses and other assorted animals.
Some of the animals were in such poor health that they had to be put down.
According to Stern, Judge Alexander's ruling Wednesday was based in part on the testimony of Dr. Eva Decozio, who said Jaguar had been suffering from anemia, parasitic worms, ticks, an ear infection, an enlarged spleen and intestinal inflammation when the dog was taken into custody.
Those conditions could have been prevented or treated by a veterinarian, Decozio testified.
In accordance with the judge's ruling, Jaguar will remain in the custody of Apache Junction Animal Control until the dog can be placed up for adoption or transferred to the Humane Society or another approved animal rescue agency.