Heather Philips, 53, was arrested, booked into jail and charged with 24 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect along with three counts of felony animal cruelty. The horses' hooves were in such poor condition that many of them could barely walk. One miniature horse reported to have been suffering, was humanely euthanized.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office headed the investigation. Chief Arpaio, known to be an animal lover and a man who has protected and given many dogs a second chance at life, stated:
"You would presume that (these people) love animals, but they're not taking care of them. "Someone has to protect our animals. If you violate animal cruelty (laws), you will go to jail."
Most of the miniature horses are now being cared for by the prisoners in jail under Chief Arpaio's watch. Other horses have been fostered out.
Although all states have animal cruelty laws which apply to animal hoarders requiring owners to feed, care, shelter and administer veterinary care when needed, only Hawaii and Illinois have specific laws pertaining to animal hoarders. Hawaii has specific legislation which makes animal hoarding a crime. The Illinois Companion Animal Hoarder Act defines a legal definition for “companion animal hoarder” and mandates counseling for those convicted of animal cruelty who meet the criteria.
Read more about animal hoarding and how everyone can help to protect those who cannot speak at the ASPCA website by clicking here.
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