Dozens of dogs found in deplorable conditions

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office are investigating after dozens of dogs were found living in deplorable conditions on private property in the far southwest part of the Valley.

According to investigators, there are more than 90 animals on the property, near 79th Ave. and Baseline Rd.

There is evidence of cockfighting and maybe dogfighting.

"We have different breeds in small cages," said Deputy Joaquin Enriquez, a sheriff's spokesman. "We've got ten to twelve dogs in one little cage. So obviously we're looking at some type of fighting if you will. Initially it was a cockfight, maybe like a cockfighting arena. But what it looks like it might be something involving dogs maybe a dogfighting arena."

There was a total of 40 dogs stuck in small cages.

"No proper shelter, no proper food. The owner even made reference that he would give them leftover Little Ceasers pizza," says Dep. Enriquez. "Obviously, that's obviously not taking care of the dogs."

Deputies also found a dead dog that looks like it was killed by another dog. Two horses collapsed after deputies arrived and had to be taken to a veterinarian.

Neighbors called deputies because of all of the weekend traffic at the remote property. There were beer cans scattered around the area indicating there were big parties there.

"Found lots of beer cans, where it looks like some people were gathering," says Dep. Enriquez. "And it looks like it's rope, tied to different areas around the trees, leading us to believe at different points there were different dogs tied up in different areas."

The man who lives there, Luis Garcia, is renting the property. He told deputies he has been rescuing dogs from washes when they attack his horses. Deputies don't believe the dogs were rescued.

Garcia is facing at least 40 counts of animal abuse charges, and could possibly face more as the investigation progresses.

More than a dozen of the dogs have been taken to a vet for emergency care. The rest have been brought to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's MASH unit in the old Madison Street Jail.