Distress call uncovers animal hoarding in Maricopa

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MARICOPA, Ariz. – An elderly man was taken to a hospital and more than a dozen animals were seized after Pinal County Animal Care and Control officers responded to a hoarding case in Maricopa Friday night.

The Maricopa Fire Department received a call regarding an 83-year-old paraplegic who was in distress at a home.

Firefighters arrived and found the man lying on a floor that was covered with debris and fecal matter, according to Pinal County spokesman Joe Pyritz. Numerous animals were in the home.

A call was placed to the Maricopa Police Department and Animal Care and Control was notified.

Pyritz said a woman at the home claimed to be the man's caregiver but then said she was his girlfriend. The man was taken to a hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown at this time.

"This seems to be a person who is a hoarder of possessions and animals," said Animal Care and Control Director Kaye Dickson. "It was tough to capture the animals due to the amount of debris inside the home. Because of the conditions, I don't know if we were able to capture all the animals that were in there."

Officers rounded up nine dogs and seven cats, some of which were being kept in crates.

The owner claims many of the animals are neutered or spayed and she can produce vet records. So far, she is unwilling to surrender the animals.

"We simply cannot return her animals to those conditions," Dickson said. "She will have to thoroughly clean her home and apply for a kennel permit in order to keep these animals."