More than 70 animals were removed and rescued from an Arizona mobile home owned by John Koepke Wednesday.
According to NBC News, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that 54 dogs and 19 cats were removed from the animal hoarder’s “filth-covered” residence located in Wittman, Arizona.
MCSO officers responded to an animal hoarding call and found 54 dogs, 18 cats. 1 cat was nursing 3 chihuahua pups! pic.twitter.com/e7iGaDucWD
— Chencho Flores (@ChenchoTV) April 9, 2015
The floors of Koepke’s mobile home were reportedly lined with feces. One of the animals removed was found dead.
A lot of the animals inside of the home appeared to suffer from medical problems. After a veterinarian receives the results from the blood work and other exams conducted, the extent of the damage done to those animals will be accurately determined.
AZ Central even reported that one of the rescued cats nursed three of the Chihuahua puppies inside of the home as well.
— azcentral (@azcentral) April 9, 2015
The report further claims that Sheriff Joe Arpaio had a few words to say about the situation – especially in regards to the puppy-nursing cat.
“At least the cat was saving some animals. I won’t say the same thing for this guy.”
Officer Christopher Hegstrom, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, opened up to NBC News about the physical condition of the animals.
“Their eyes are matted shut and they’re weeping.”
In a press release published by the sheriff’s office, it was mentioned that John Koepke initially refused to surrender the animals he called “his children” to the detectives. The man was reportedly “highly emotional” when the animals were taken.
John Koepke was reportedly involved in an animal hoarding case back in 2011. NBC News reports that he was prohibited from owning animals until May 2015.
Animal hoarding seems to be a growing problem throughout the United States and in other parts of the world. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), up to 250,000 animals per year are victims of animal hoarders.
“Records…indicate that in the last four years, the number of reported hoarding cases has more than doubled… Hoarding is the number one animal cruelty crisis facing companion animals…throughout the country.”
As of right now, John Koepke is expected to be charged with over 70 counts of failure to provide shelter for the animals. However, additional charges could be filed depending on the results of the pending medical evaluations.
[Image Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]