PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says the owner of a Mesa animal shelter has been indicted on more than 100 counts after more than 50 dogs were found neglected and malnourished at his shelter last fall.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone made the announcement at a news conference Thursday.
Penzone said the case went to a grand jury in late June.
And now, Penzone says that shelter owner Dominic Anthony Asprella has been indicted on 117 counts. Those counts include animal cruelty, intentional animal cruelty, failure to provide medical care to the animals, and fraudulent schemes.
Last October, more than 50 dogs were found neglected and emaciated at the Asprella's Shelter Paws in Mesa.
"In my opinion, this is an example of something that happens far often," Penzone said. "One of the most egregious cases of volume of abuse to animals that we've seen in this community."
Back in October 2018, MCSO had gotten a call from a woman who came to pick up her dog at that shelter and saw the horrible conditions there.
When Animal Crimes detectives went to investigate, they discovered more than 50 dogs who were extremely malnourished and being kept in confinement with feces present in their crates.
One dog was transported to an emergency veterinarian in extremely poor condition and later died.
The remaining dogs were transported to the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) facility in downtown Phoenix for further evaluation and care.
Another had to be euthanized shortly afterward due to medical distress. Later three more dogs had to be euthanized due to aggressive behavior.
After the story made the news, a huge amount of public support poured in for the dogs and the MCSO MASH Unit.
The unit cares for and rehabilitates neglected and abused animals, nurtures them back to health, and adopts them out to loving, forever homes
"We are overwhelmed by the donations, love, and support we have received from the community in response to the dogs that were seized last week," said Penzone in a statement on Facebook at the time. "Thank you! Your contributions have made a significant impact on our furry friends and the MCSO MASH UNIT."
The unit also allows inmates to work with the animals, providing opportunities for inmates to learn compassion and valuable work and life skills.
You can find out more information about the MSCO MASH Unit online.