Hoarding alleged in animal cruelty case; owner hospitalized

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
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 a case of alleged animal cruelty at a residential property in the north Valley.

The property is on Desert Hills Drive, near Interstate 17 and the Carefree Highway.

Investigators said they have taken Andrea Rene Mikkel into custody and she was hoarding animals.

Neighbors notified the sheriff's office because of the noise and the smell.

"This is a hoarding case," said Deputy Joaquin Enriquez, a sheriff's spokesman. "The house is completely covered in feces. It's not just dog feces. There's rabbits, there's dogs, there's cats, there's chickens, roosters. There's so many animals inside the house. Every inch of that place is covered, some almost a foot high in feces."

Mikkel would not let detectives on the property, so they had to get a search warrant.

"Detectives with the sheriff's office here are saying probably one of the worst they've ever seen," said Enriquez.

They found more than 100 animals, including zebras, alpacas, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, lambs, chickens, rabbits and many other animals.

"Some of these animals when we arrived didn't have water. A lot of them, they need to be cared for as far as their hooves and obviously they haven't been properly taken care of so that's the concern right now," said Enriquez.

Mikkel could face felony charges. She has a history with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

She was hospitalized on Monday after swallowing a soda can tab while being questioned by deputies, Enriquez said.

Monday night, Mikkel ripped the aluminum tab from a soft drink can and swallowed it, Enriquez said. She was hospitalized after it became lodged in her throat.

"This attempt at suicide was an act to prevent her from going to jail tonight," Enriquez said.

Enriquez said two zebras remained on the property due to their aggressive nature, and deputies were contacting wildlife experts for their removal.


Here is a list of the animals taken from the property by MCSO:

  • 15 birds (parakeets, cockatoos and small birds)
  • 16 cats
  • 11 dogs (English bull dog, chihuahua, beagle and mixes)
  • 1 pig
  • 1 rabbit
  • 2 turkeys
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 Rooster
  • 3 pigeons
  • 4 mini horses
  • 2 horses