An estimated 55 dogs were rescued from an Arizona woman’s home for special needs dogs after they were discovered to be living in filthy conditions, as well as those reportedly found dead in a freezer.
Police in Chandler responded to April Mclaughlin’s home on Friday and found dozens of dogs living in squalor with no water. Mclaughlin had been running a shelter for special needs dogs, but the reality had spiraled into such filthy conditions that firefighters had to wear special equipment to stand breathing in the home, according to AZ Family.
Officials began investigating on Sept. 8 after a vet reached out to police that some of Mclaughlin’s dogs were not in healthy conditions. Police responded to Mclaughlin’s home on Sept. 22 to investigate the health of dogs being housed at her Special Needs Animal Welfare League.
A total of 55 dogs were rescued, as well as Mclaughlin’s mom, from the home. Living dogs were found living in wire crates stacked on top of each other, others were found covered in tarps.
An undisclosed number of dogs were found frozen in Mclaughlin’s freezer, AZ Family reported. She allegedly told police that she saw no issue with storing dead dogs next to frozen food in her freezer.
“We wanted to ensure there weren’t hazardous fumes occurring at the residence with first responders inside a very small home, so that’s why they were requested to ensure that everybody was safe inside the home,” Chandler Police Sgt. Emma Huenneke told local reporters
Other dogs in the home were found in such bad shape that they had a hard time vocalizing their barks, according to the outlet. A handful of dogs were euthanized due to their conditions.
Mclaughlin was charged with 110 misdemeanors, one count of vulnerable adult abuse, and other charges. She is being held on a $2,500 cash bond.
The Arizona Humane Society has taken charge of the remaining living dogs found in the home, according to a police press release.