CHANDLER, AZ — Neighbors who live near the home at the center of an animal cruelty investigation noticed something that raised eyebrows again on Tuesday.
This comes at a time of reenergized talks about changing the Chandler city code around animal cruelty.
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Antonia Martinez has had a front-row seat to an animal cruelty investigation happening next door to her Chandler home.
“Flees, flies, the smell, all of it has been horrific,” said Martinez.
She’s so close, she showed us the flies collected from the odor coming from a home where more than 50 dogs were seized in what officials described as a deplorable, hoarding situation.
During a civil court case, officials shared the graphic nature of the home, where some dogs were found in a freezer. Other details include paws soaked in feces and urine, fecal matter scattered throughout the home and some dogs with open wounds.
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April McLaughlin, who represented herself, told the court she was running a special needs animal rescue. She presented no evidence during the hearing earlier this month.
While ABC15 was in the neighborhood Tuesday, our cameras, not only caught Chandler Fire responding to another odor complaint but neighbors noticed, moving equipment in the driveway of the home at the center of the investigation.
“That came early this morning, looks like she’s going to move out,” said Martinez
There’s no immediate public information the house is set to go on the market. ABC15 couldn’t get a hold of McLaughlin on Tuesday.
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Thursday at 5 p.m. is the last day McLaughlin can appeal the judge’s decision who denied her custody of some of the dogs.
Before this animal cruelty case captivated Chandler and beyond, the city was working on proposed changes to the city code around animal cruelty.
They look to, in part, clearly define animal cruelty to include specific situations like failing to provide medical attention to prevent unreasonable suffering, adding a section on animal hoarding, and updating language on authority to take animals subjected to cruelty.
”Once it was discovered back in August, what was going on and how many dogs were there, it should have been handled right then and there, shouldn’t have gone on as long as it did,” said Martinez.
When asked for a reaction to the proposed changes, the Arizona Humane Society issued the following statement:
The Arizona Humane Society applauds the City of Chandler as they work to strengthen the City’s animal cruelty ordinance. We appreciated the opportunity to provide input on the proposed language and we will continue to be a resource for the City to share our expertise in animal welfare. In the end, we are hopeful the City of Chandler will pass a comprehensive animal ordinance ensuring all pets are better protected in the future.
On Wednesday, the city of Chandler is expected to issue ways the public can comment on the changes.
November 9 is the scheduled date when the updates will be introduced to the council discussion.