Tragic Animal Cruelty Case Sheds Light on AHS’ Advocacy Efforts.
The Arizona Humane Society’s Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ (EAMTs™) received a call Tuesday morning from our partners at the Phoenix Police Department regarding a young Chihuahua who was barely hanging on to his life and lying motionless in a dilapidated chicken coop. Upon our arrival to the scene, no food or water could be found for the malnourished, extremely ill dog. AHS’ EAMT, Valerie Newman said “I’ve never seen such a small and innocent dog suffer in such horrible agony.”
Three more Chihuahuas were found at the abandoned property near 19th
Avenue and Indian School. They too had been deprived of food and water. AHS EAMT immediately gave water to the dogs and it was clear they had been deprived of water for some time.
With the help of Phoenix Police, all four dogs were seized by AHS and brought to the Arizona Humane Society’s Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™. The owner was arrested by the Police Department.
The dogs were immediately examined by AHS’ trauma team and the four-year-old Chihuahua was so weak he could hardly stand, let alone walk, and was unable to hold his head up on his own. His breathing was labored and slow. He was extremely lethargic and suffered from a high fever and exhibited neurological signs of brain damage. These signs and symptoms suggest the dog was suffering from Distemper, a deadly virus that affects unvaccinated dogs and has no known cure. Since the dog was experiencing so many agonizing complications, AHS veterinarians made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize him in an effort to end his suffering.
Of the other three dogs, one was also showing signs of Distemper, but is currently alert and able to walk normally. Blood tests were taken on all three of the dogs and will be sent to the lab to determine if they too have Distemper. They are being held in an isolation and intensive care unit, an extension of AHS’ trauma hospital and results should be in Thursday.
This case is a very sad and all too common case for the Arizona Humane Society’s Emergency Animal Medical Technicians, a team who responds to more than 10,000 rescues and animal cruelty investigations each year.
The case also sheds light on the importance of strengthening animal cruelty laws within our state. As a founding member of the Humane Legislative Coalition of Arizona (HLCA), HCLA introduced Senate Bill 1227 – Animal Cruelty, Sentencing, Bond - last legislative session that would have increased penalties for animal abuse similar to that mentioned above. Specifically, the proposed bill defined food as edible and “in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the animal,” water as drinkable and in sufficient quantity and shelter as appropriate for the animal and weather conditions.
This minor change would be a major improvement to state law. It closes the current loophole that allows animal abusers who have provided a spoonful of moldy water or a single bite of rotten food to avoid prosecution.
“Last year, alone, we received more than 5,700 reports of animal cruelty,” said Dr. Steve Hansen, CEO of Arizona Humane Society. “One thousand of those calls – more than one in every six – were regarding a lack of water. We need to strengthen our ability to punish these abusers through the help of the state legislature to end this epidemic.”
The bill did not pass, but AHS and the HLCA is committed to moving forward with similar legislation in the upcoming session and will need the community’s support in getting it passed.
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Read more about this story at azcentral.com
[video width="426" height="240" mp4="https://www.azhumane.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/chicken-coop.mp4"][/video]
Two of the three pups rescued, NewCastle
, are now available for adoption!
UPDATE 8/3/16: The third pup, Darlington, has been adopted!
UPDATE 8/5/16: Newcastle got adopted!