Dozens of malnourished special needs dogs and rescue puppies have been rescued in Arizona after being exposed to squalid conditions and alleged abuse by their owners.
April McLaughlin was arrested on Friday evening after a raid by police officers who were forced to don hazmat suits to enter the house where 55 dogs were being held because the smell was overpowering.
The conditions turned out to be so disgusting that McLaughlin had even resorted to keeping the bodies of dead dogs 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 veterinarian on September 8 about the condition of three dogs held at the home.
The Arizona Humane Society is seen on scene as Chandler police seize more than 50 special needs pets, many of whom needed immediate medical attention
April McLaughlin is currently in the Maricopa County Jail facing 110 counts of animal abuse and cruelty
Officers can be seen at the scene trying to take in what is in front of them
The rescue in question is called the Special Needs Animal Welfare League. Other rescuers had previously filed requests to have it investigated as they feared the whole scheme was a scam.
A rescue in Texas reportedly sent a dog named Butters to the Chandler rescue, but when the team saw photos of the disabled dog looking thin, they became concerned and went to investigate.
Officers had visited the home in the past while it was being used as an animal shelter, but the dogs all appeared to be left to fend for themselves.
When officers first arrived on scene, they were so overwhelmed by the fumes that they required assistance from the hazardous materials team.
Police officers carried out a raid where they had to wear protective suits to enter the house
A member of the police team can be seen petting a dog that was barking in distress
Some of the more than 50 dogs can be seen barking as they are kept behind locked cages
Several cages full of dogs were seen on the grounds of the home in Chandler, Arizona
Officers are seen donning protective gear before entering the house
A total of 55 malnourished dogs, including special needs rescue dogs, have been rescued from squalid conditions and alleged abuse in Chandler, Arizona.
Dogs can be seen everywhere in the home, some behind metal cages
Some dogs were found to be living outside without adequate shelter
Many of the dogs had 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 make sure there were no hazardous fumes released into the home with first responders in a very small home, so that’s why they were asked to make sure everyone was safe in the home,” said Chandler Police Sgt. Emma Huenneke.
A total of 55 dogs had been removed from McLaughlin’s home by the early hours of Saturday morning.
Following McLaughlin’s arrest on Friday evening, she was charged with multiple charges, including 55 counts of animal cruelty, 55 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of assault by vulnerable adults, with McLaughlin’s elderly 83-year-old mother also living in the home.
The mother requested her daughter’s immediate release from prison.
This is April Addison’s home where 55 dogs were removed from the property
April Addison is seen in a video leaving her home with a dog in Chandler, Arizona
Officers can be seen wearing face masks and hazmat suits during the raid
Some members of the Hazmat team were forced to carry oxygen tanks on their backs
McLaughlin appeared in court on Saturday, after which prosecutors told a judge how the dogs were found in appalling living conditions, with some living in filth and their own feces, without access to water and many likely needing to be euthanized.
Authorities say the air quality in the home was so poor that firefighters had to wear special breathing apparatus. The house itself will have to be demolished.
Despite having been tipped off about the home in the past, Friday night’s search marked the first time officers entered the address after obtaining a search warrant.
Video shows dog being held at Addison ‘rescue center’ where dogs were in ‘deplorable’ condition
Other owners managed to track down some of the dogs left in Addison’s care
Another of the 55 dogs was rescued by Chandler police and the Arizona Humane Society
Almost all the dogs in the house were mixed breeds and special needs dogs
Many of the dogs had difficulty barking and were covered in tarpaulin, while some were kept in wire crates stacked on top of each other.
McLaughlin admitted to police that she had kept deceased dogs in the freezer next to food, but did not believe it was wrong to do so.
She is currently in custody at the Maricopa County Jail on a $2,500 bond and faces a total of 110 felony charges, with two counts for each animal cruelty charge: one for cruelty/neglect and abandonment, and a second for failure to provide medical treatment. .