QUEEN VALLEY – Pinal County Animal Care and Control officers and Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant on a home in Queen Valley Friday morning. By the afternoon, 59 cats and one dog were removed from the residence.
Queen Valley is located five miles north of Highway 60, west of the Town of Superior.
“What was very shocking is that we found nine carcasses of deceased cats inside the home,” Animal Care and Control Director Kaye Dickson said. “We were not expecting to see that.”
Before Animal Care and Control officers were able to enter the home, a male resident was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies after making threats to law enforcement and animal control officers.
Sergeant Lonnie Buckels, a 20-year veteran of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said this was one of the worst cases of animal hoarding he has seen in his career.
“We exhausted all means of resolving the situation immediately with the residents,” Director Dickson said. “We were hoping they would surrender the animals voluntarily, but we ended up having to get a judge to serve a search warrant.”
Animal Care and Control officers said the inside of the residence was filled with feces and smelled strongly of cat urine. A trailer located on the property was also filled with fecal matter and in poor condition. Officials from Pinal County’s Risk Management and Environmental Health were on hand to assist officers and to further examine the residence out of concern for the safety of the residents.
The animals will be kept at Animal Care and Control’s shelter on Eleven Mile Corner Road where they will be examined by a veterinarian. Many of the cats are believed to be in poor physical condition with disease or illness likely in some. How many and whether the cats will be available for adoption will be determined in the next few weeks.
This case comes in the same week as Animal Care and Control officers are investigating another hoarding case. In that instance of hoarding, 93 dogs were removed from a double wide trailer in the Hidden Valley area.
Once this investigation is complete, evidence and vet reports will be forwarded to the County Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges. If the County Attorney’s Office declines to press charges, Animal Care and Control can pursue civil and administrative charges.
Shelter hours for the month of February will be from 8 AM to 6 PM. The adoption offices will be closed on Saturdays in February.
Calls for Animal Care & Control services are handled at 520-509-3555 or toll free at 888-431-1311. For information about lost or found pets or to see information on animals for adoption at the shelter, go to Animal Control on www.pinalcountyaz.gov or use this shortened URL: http://goo.gl/LqALP. Lost and Found is in red near the bottom of the page. PetHarbor is the website used to list adoptable animals at the shelter.
(MEDIA: There will be no updates from this case over the weekend.)