Animal advocates hold vigil for dogs seized from Chandler home

One woman who attended recently found out that her dog was one of several that had to be put down.
Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 7:32 AM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Over 100 people gathered at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler for a vigil Saturday night to honor the dozens of dogs they said deserved better. They placed candles on the ground and formed the number 55, the number of dogs Chandler Police say were taken from April McLaughlin’s home last week.

When asked how they felt, one Phoenix resident said, “Just a deep sense of grief. They should not have gone through that.”

Animal advocates and rescuers brought white flowers, pictures and a collage with the faces of special needs dogs that were reportedly kept under the same roof by McLaughlin. ”It’s shocking. It’s upsetting,” Shira Scott Astrof with the Animal Rescue Mission in Los Angeles said. “It’s horrifying that we’re finding out so many dogs have gone to her.”

Shira flew from Los Angeles Saturday afternoon. She’s one of the vigil’s organizers. She told Arizona’s Family that three of her rescues — Bailey, Chester and Rudy — were adopted by McLaughlin. She believed they were living their best lives. However, she later learned Rudy was one of five dogs that had to be put down by the Arizona Humane Society due to a condition.

“I have not gotten a good night sleep,” she said. “I have not. I can’t even explain the feeling. It’s horrifying, and since I found out they killed Rudy, I guess the best word to use is broken.”

A board member with the Yaqui Animal Rescue from South Texas, Rebecca Arimendi, also traveled to Chandler for the vigil. She and all the people who attended are seeking justice for the dogs and fighting to keep other animals away from McLaughlin. They hope changes can be made to local and state laws to protect animals.

”These animals, they’re helpless. They are innocent. And they just rely on humans to fight for them, so that’s what we’re doing,” Arimendi said.

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