Animal hoarding case in St. Johns; 70 dogs found

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Owner signed over pets to rescuers

ST. JOHNS - It was a shocking scene on a ranch in St. Johns, Arizona when 70 Rottweilers found at one home.

It is a case of animal hoarding unlike anything authorities have seen. 3TV has learned the dogs were abandoned after their owner got sick.

Unfortunately, it was too late for many when rescuers arrived.

Charlotte Peterson, with the Second Chance Center for Animals, was faced with a daunting task today. She explains, "There is one I believe that is under this trailer, not this big boy but there's another one that's underneath there with him that was pretty aggressive."

The dogs were left alone 10 days ago when their owner was hospitalized with a disease she contracted on the property. Rescuers from Coconino County and the town of Show Low had to be on the lookout for two things: Feral dogs and disease.

About 15 dogs did not survive the days alone. Melissa Leair, also with Second Chance, admits, "That's the sad part, there's a number of animals that have been attacked or passed away. It looks like they didn't have food for quite a while."

The ones that made it out alive have a long road ahead. Rescuers are just glad their owner gave her permission to stage an intervention.

"It's really sad. With people that animal hoard, they really do think they're doing good for the animals and it's hard to convince them otherwise, so we're really lucky the owner was willing to sign them over to us," Leair explains.

Once all of the dogs are evaluated some will be brought to the Humane Society in Phoenix.

No word yet on when, or if, they will be ready for adoption.