PHOENIX --The City of Phoenix has formed an animal cruelty task force in response to the discovery of a gruesome scene in south Phoenix, first reported on by 3TV.
In March, 3TV found numerous animal carcasses dumped in a vacant lot near 15th Avenue and Baseline. Many of the animals showed signs of abuse including having their limbs tied or throats cut.
"It was inhumane," said Michael Petty, who lives nearby.
Once the city became aware of the situation, they removed the dead animals and forced the property owner to clean up the lot and secure the area. Neighbors say dumping is no longer an issue there.
It is still unknown who was responsible for leaving the dead dogs on the lot, but after the incident the city decided to form a special Animal Cruelty Task Force.
The group is comprised of city and state legislators, the Arizona Humane Society, law enforcement and community members.
Task force member Chris West, of the Arizona Humane Society, said the coalition's goal is to increase awareness about animal abuse and to stiffen penalties for offenders.
West says animal cruelty is a growing problem in the Valley.
"Last year the Arizona Humane Society, which is contracted with Phoenix Police Department to assist in animal cruelty investigations, ran about 5,000 calls. This year in the first eight months, we've had 5,700 calls," West said.
The group has an aggressive timeline and hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the year that includes public service announcements and legislative changes.