Back to Blog

Spike in Animal Cruelty Cases Prompts Push For Stronger Laws

Written by: Arizona Humane Society
The Arizona Humane Society, in partnership with Sen. T.J. Shope, is thrilled to announce our joint sponsorship of Senate Bill 1047 to help fortify our state's animal cruelty laws.

115 days. That’s how long it has been since 55 dogs were seized and five dogs were found dead in a freezer at April McLaughin’s residence. Sadly, it was a night many at the Arizona Humane Society will never forget — one of the most horrific cases of animal cruelty this organization has ever seen.

Over the course of the last four months, we have continued to work in partnership with law enforcement to provide evidence and, most importantly, provide advanced medical and behavioral care for the dogs seized. We provided medical treatment, special assistance for mobility issues, enrichment for their mental and emotional recovery and extra love as the dogs healed from deplorable living conditions.

Rescue groups from across the country, who sought justice for the dogs from the beginning, drove miles and rallied their communities so they could welcome these dogs back into their organizations and, oftentimes, back into their own homes. We already reunited more than 40 dogs with former owners and/or rescue groups, and thanks to the court denying McLaughlin’s appeal earlier this month, we were able to unite the final dogs – Maddie, Xander, Cody, Billy and Skylar – with a rescue group today. At the same time, AHS and Arizona State Senator T.J. Shope, alongside Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, proudly announced movement forward to protect more of Arizona’s pets with Senate Bill 1047 (SB1047).

This critical legislation is aimed at protecting more pets by fortifying Arizona’s animal cruelty laws and comes after a particularly difficult year in terms of animal abuse cases across the state. In 2023, AHS responded to nearly 15,000 calls for service and initiated close to 10,000 animal abuse investigations, representing a substantial 21 percent increase from the previous year.

SB1047 specifically defines cruelty to companion animals as failure to provide necessary medical attention, defines food and water that are fit for consumption, ensures shelter is safe and provides protection during extreme weather conditions.

We could not have cared for the dogs involved in the McLaughlin case without our community’s support, and, as we take this critical step forward with SB1047, we are asking for you to join us so that no pet has to suffer in the same way again. You can help us spread the word and use your voice for the voiceless by signing up for Advocacy Alerts.

January 17, 2024