A woman in Arizona who runs a shelter for dogs with special needs was detained after 55 dogs were rescued from her home in rancid conditions; some dogs had to be put to sleep, while others were discovered dead and stuffed in the freezer.
When police searched April Mclaughlin’s Chandler home on Friday night, they discovered numerous dogs living in their own waste without access to water. According to CBS 5, the smell was so bad that firefighters were called to search for the poor dogs with special breathing apparatus.
Police also discovered dead dogs that had been stuffed into a freezer that was kept close to the food for the other animals during their search.
The animals were kept there as a part of the Special Needs Animal Welfare League, which Mclaughlin oversaw and which was accused of abuse and neglect.
On Sept. 8, when a veterinary professional contacted them regarding the state of three dogs kept in Mclaughlin’s home, officials started looking into the situation.
On September 22, Chandler Police attempted to rescue the animals, but were thwarted by the vile smell that met them there. As a result, they called for firefighters.
First responders were asked to check on everyone’s safety inside the house because “we wanted to make sure there weren’t any hazardous fumes occurring at the residence with first responders inside a very small home,” Chandler Police Sgt. Emma Huenneke told reporters.
A total of 55 dogs had been saved as of Saturday from the house, which has since been condemned, according to the police. The deteriorating house was also cleared of Mclaughlin’s mother.
In court documents, officers noted that some of the dogs they had rescued had trouble barking. Some of the dogs had been discovered under tarps or in wire crates stacked on top of one another.
Many of the dogs were discovered to be in such bad shape, according to officials, that they might need to be put to sleep.
In an interview with the police, Mclaughlin claimed there was nothing wrong with the way she kept the dead dogs’ bodies close to the food. She has refuted the accusations made against her shelter.
Mclaughlin faced 110 misdemeanor charges, including two counts for each claim of animal abuse. She was also accused of abusing a vulnerable adult on one count.
On a $2,500 cash bond, she is currently being held in the Maricopa County Jail.