16 neglected animals seized from New River rehab center for deaf youth

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: MCSO) (Source: MCSO)
(Source: MCSO) (Source: MCSO)
(Source: MCSO) (Source: MCSO)

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says its Animal Crimes Unit seized 16 neglected animals from a New River rehab center for deaf youth.

Horses, donkeys and dogs living at the Remington Deaf Ranch were turned over to MCSO by their owner, Dan Remington.

Neighbors had reported the situation to officials, saying that the animals were living in terrible conditions without food and water. 

In a statement, MCSO said:

"Detectives noticed all of the horses were very thin with rib, hip, and tail bones visibly protruding through the skin. A black and white paint mare appeared to have difficulty walking as did a miniature donkey with its front hooves curled underneath. Detectives found black and gray dogs, Heelers, infested with ticks and showing symptoms of illness. There was a lack of food and water for all the animals on the property."

[RAW VIDEO: MCSO briefing on New River neglected animals]

Remington said he didn't have money for a vet. He signed over ownership to the MCSO.

The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Also found on the ranch were three male teenagers believed to be from Ethiopia, who appeared to be working the property and attending to the animals.

The teens showed no signs of physical abuse, but MCSO says there are unanswered questions as to how they came to reside at the ranch, which is not licensed with the state of Arizona.

MCSO immediately contacted The Arizona Department of Child Safety (AZDCS) and that agency opened an inquiry into the welfare of the children.

[SLIDESHOW: 16 neglected animals seized from New River rehab center for deaf youth]

“Protecting our most vulnerable people is our highest priority,” said Sheriff Paul Penzone. “Thanks to tips from the public, our detectives intervened to assist these young men and stop a horrible situation of animal neglect.”

The Remington Deaf Ranch claims to have been operating since 2000 and on its website, describes its mission this way:

“Deaf youths on drugs or alcohol are required to stay at the Ranch for a full year to detoxify their systems. Each will receive counseling related to their problem. The ranch provides home schooling, and hands on work experiences for each youth during the year. Once they have finished their year, they are evaluated to determine if the program requirements are satisfied. If they pass they are free to go home as long as they have a mentor or church to check on them for the next year. Youths with rebellion problems will stay for the length of time it takes to help them if less than one year.”

In addition to AZDCS, MCSO has alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and that agency has joined the investigation.

”Caring people are making a difference and helping MCSO deal with situations like this,” said Sheriff Penzone. “We urge you to let us know whenever you see children and animals in trouble.”

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