Chandler city council votes to expand animal cruelty ordinance

The city of Chandler decided to update the language in their animal cruelty ordinance.
Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 12:37 AM MST
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CHANDLER, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) - On Thursday, Chandler city council voted unanimously to update the language in the city’s current animal cruelty ordinance, which would now include a definition of hoarding.

Thursday’s vote is only preliminary, with the final vote in December. The council said protecting animals is an urgent topic they want to get done as soon as possible. Some of the updated language in this ordinance defines hoarding as keeping animals in unsanitary or overcrowded living conditions and failing to provide the proper medical treatment and care. It does not mention anything about the exact number of animals.

The city has had multiple discussions on this topic since October and has had input from people living in Chandler and animal rescues. They wanted to update their animal cruelty ordinances because some of the language dates back to the 70s. In addition to labeling what hoarding is, the council updated the language for what counts as animal cruelty, including leaving animals outside, the leash being longer than 10 feet, and having access to water and shade.

The fast-tracked proposal stems from an incident in September when police found 55 dogs inside April McLaughlin’s home. The Chandler police department and the city officials received a lot of backlash in this case about how long it took them to act. They hope these new additions will make it easier for police to obtain a search warrant to enter properties suspected of animal cruelty and get those animals to safety.

The council also voted to update the penalties for animal cruelty, which start as a misdemeanor but can be elevated to a felony depending on the case.

The final vote is this December, which, if passed, would mean the earliest this can go into effect is January 2024.

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