Dozens of malnourished dogs and special needs rescue pups have been rescued in Arizona after being subjected to squalid conditions and alleged abuse by their owner.
April Mclaughlin was arrested on Friday night following a raid by police officers who were forced to don hazmat suits in order to enter the home where 55 dogs had been kept because the smell was overwhelming.
The conditions were found to be so disgusting that Mclaughlin had even resorted to keeping the bodies of dead dogs stored in her freezer.
Five dead puppies were found in the freezer right next to a stash of frozen microwave meals.
The raid by Chandler police was conducted after they received information from a vet on September 8 about the condition of three dogs kept at the home.
The Arizona Humane Society is seen on scene with the Chandler Police Department seizing more than 50 special needs pets, many of whom needed immediate medical attention
April Mclaughlin is currently in the Maricopa County Jail and faces 110 counts of animal abuse and cruelty
Police officers conducted a raid that required them to wear hazmat suits to enter the home
The rescue in question is called the Special Needs Animal Welfare League. Other rescuers had previously made requests to have it investigated after fears the entire setup was a scam.
A Texas rescue reportedly sent a dog named Butters to the Chandler rescue, but when the team saw pictures of the disabled dog looking thin, they became concerned and went to investigate.
Officers had in fact visited the home in the past with the residence having been used as an animal rescue facility – but the dogs were all found to be in need of rescuing themselves.
When officers first arrived on scene they were so overcome by fumes that they required the help of the hazardous materials team.
A total of 55 undernourished dogs, including special needs rescue dogs, have been rescued in Chandler, Arizona from squalid conditions and alleged abuse
Dogs can be seen littered about the residence with some behind metal cages
Some dogs were found to have been living outside without adequate shelter
Many of the dogs were special needs but did not have the proper equipment to help them
The poor treatment of the animals had been brought to the attention of other rescuers in the past
‘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.
By the early hours of Saturday morning, a total of 55 dogs had been removed from Mclaughlin’s home.
Following Mclaughlin’s arrest on Friday night she was booked on multiple charges, including 55 counts of animal abuse, 55 counts of animal cruelty, and one count of vulnerable adult abuse with Mclaughlin’s elderly 83-year-old mother also living in the home.
The mother requested for her daughter’s immediate release from jail.
This is the home of April Addison where 55 dogs were removed from the property
April Addison is seen in a video leaving her house with a dog in Chandler, Arizona
Mclaughlin appeared in court on Saturday at which point state prosecutors told a judge how the dogs were found in deplorable living conditions, with some living in filth and in their own feces, lacking access to water, and many likely having to be euthanized.
Authorities say the air quality in the home was so poor that firefighters had to wear specialized breathing equipment. The home itself will have to be demolished.
Despite being tipped off about the home in the past, Friday night’s search was the first time that officers had entered the address after they were able to obtain a search warrant.
Video is seen of a dog being kept at Addison’s ‘rescue center’ where dogs were in ‘deplorable’ condition
Other owners managed to track down some of the dogs which had been left in Addison’s care
Another of the 55 dogs is seen having been rescued by Chandler Police and the Arizona Humane Society
Almost all of the dogs in the house were mixed breeds and special needs dogs
Many of the dogs had difficulties barking, were covered with tarps, while some were kept in stacked wire crates.
Mclaughlin admitted to police that she had stored deceased dogs alongside food in the freezer but did not believe it was wrong to do so.
She is currently in custody at the Maricopa County jail on a $2,500 cash bond and faces a total of 110 misdemeanor charges with two counts for each accusation of animal abuse: one for cruelty/neglect and abandonment, and a second for failing to provide medical treatment.