Police find 185 animals at AJ home - East Valley Tribune: News

Police find 185 animals at AJ home

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Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2008 8:02 pm | Updated: 11:28 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A horse that hadn’t stood up in months. Baby goats soiled and crying. And more animals so sickly, they had to be killed.

VIDEO: Watch Tribune reporter Nicole Beyer's report

VIDEO: See officers at the scene

Police were called to an Apache Junction home Tuesday afternoon where more than 185 various animals were found in dirty, smelly conditions.

Officers responded to the home on South Hilton about 4 p.m. after neighbors called dispatchers to report animals that may be in distress, said Apache Junction police spokesman Jay Swart.

“Our animal control officers came across approximately 185 animals and many of them were in severe distress and two had to be euthanized at the scene,” Swart said. “We’ve already transported 15 to hospitals and we’ve brought in several veterinarians.”

At the approximately acre-and-a-quarter home, various houses, sheds and cages contained the animals in “deplorable conditions,” Swart said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Apache Junction’s four animal control officers located 47 dogs, 96 rabbits, 18 chickens, 13 goats, six horses, two cats, one pot-bellied pig, one African Parrot and one cockatiel. Police believe the animals were the owners’ pets, but officers have no idea why they had so many.

Police said the home had more animals in one place than Apache Junction cops have ever seen.

“We have been working through the night to process this and you know, we never stop working,” Swart said. He wouldn’t say if anyone has been arrested in the case, which he described as “an active investigation.”

The residents of the home sat outside their property in a van on Wednesday, a portion of the vehicle window was blocked with a jacket. They declined a Tribune request for comment. Their names were not released by authorities.

A neighbor whose front yard faces the property said her daughter has called authorities numerous times regarding the condition of the animals.

“They came out, but they never did do anything,” said neighbor Laurine Nunn. “It’s very bad, especially that one still lying down there.”

Across from Nunn’s yard was a chocolate-colored horse lying in a small, muddy pen. Its hooves —— which should have been trimmed about every six weeks —— were thick and overgrown. It’s spine protruded from its dirt-crusted coat. And it could only lift its lethargic head.

The horse was euthanized with an injection Wednesday, because it was too ill to survive.

“They water and feed them, but that’s it...no brushing and they don’t even pet them,” Nunn said.

Swart said he could not immediately confirm if Apache Junction’s animal control unit had been contacted in the past. “I thought this was the first time we were out there,” he said.

Police forensic examiners were also sent to the property and Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies and state livestock employees also assisted.

Nunn said she couldn’t understand why the animals weren’t rescued sooner.

She said, “I don’t know why.”

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