PHOENIX - A woman was arrested in connection to "one of the worst hoarding scenes" Arizona Human Society investigators say they've seen so far this year.
AHS says their investigators, along with Phoenix Police, responded to a case involving several abandoned animals on April 18.
AHS says a 3-year-old female Great Dane named Pandora was found locked in a crate without food or water and weighed just 57 pounds - half of what a dog that size should weigh.
"At her age and her breed, she should weigh double that amount," the humane society said in a statement on May 11.
Four dogs, one cat, two chickens, and six reptiles were found living in deplorable conditions. Fifteen other pets were found dead on the property.
"We are estimating the animals were possibly in there for at least a month, by themselves, without any food or water," said Tracey Miller with the Arizona Humane Society.
Phoenix Police say they're grateful for the two callers who reported seeing neglected animals at this home.
"The officers that responded described a very foul smell, and they looked - a human wouldn't live there," said Sergeant Margaret Cox with the Phoenix Police Department. "To see all these animals, and these dogs basically howling in distress for someone to feed them or to give them water."
Officials say Pandora was in the worst condition. She was suffering from dehydration, several wounds, an ear infection, hookworms, and a poor coat.
"Pandora was locked in a crate when we found her, covered in her own urine and feces, there were empty buckets of food and water inside the crate... it looked like she had actually been chewing on them," Miller said.
Pandora was rushed to the Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital for her injuries and her sever dehydration.
"Miss Pandora was probably not going to make it a couple more days," Miller said.
(Arizona Humane Society)
The dog is now gaining weight and recovering with a foster family.
The other dogs and cat rescued from the home are being treated by AHS. The chickens and reptiles are being cared for by the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
On April 19, Rachel Ussery-Welch was arrested and faces 12 counts of animal cruelty. Investigators say that at one point, a couple had been living in the home with more than 30 pets. One person moved out.
"The other half, who ended up being the arrested person, indicated that she would be fine living there, she was going to have a roommate move in and would be fine taking care of the animals," Miller said. "At what point she stopped living there and stopped taking care of the animals, we don't know."
Investigators say the animals probably would not have survived another week inside the home without water or food.
To report animal abuse, cruelty, or neglect, call your local police department or AHS at 602-997-7585, ext. 2073.
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