Contributed Article by Humane Society of Southern Arizona
Tucson – The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) is pleased to have been able to assist in a successful Animal Cruelty prosecution in Graham County.
On August 26, HSSA visited the Graham County Animal Control (GCAC) facility to transfer dogs to HSSA, in an effort to alleviate over-crowding at GCAC. Robert Hernandez, Graham County Animal Control Officer, showed HSSA staff three special dogs. These dogs had been found tied out in the desert and were picked up by GCAC officer(s). One of the dogs was in need of emergency medical care due to injuries to his head and ear. Another of the dogs was severely emaciated and the third had minor injuries.
Brandy Burke, HSSA Chief Operations Officer said, “As a humane organization, we understood the need for these dogs to receive emergency medical care and had them transported to the local veterinarian (Desert Cross Veterinary Hospital) to receive treatment, since CGAC does not have the facilities or resources to house and treat injured animals.” Once stabilized, the dogs were sent to HSSA for further care and housing.
The Animal Cruelty Investigation team at HSSA (also members of the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona [ACT]), gathered evidence, veterinary statements and photographs to pass on to the Graham County Attorney’s Office. Scott Adams, Deputy County Attorney for Graham County, took on the case. This would be his first animal cruelty case. HSSA and ACT assisted Mr. Adams with putting together a successful prosecution case against the owner of the dogs.
The owner pled guilty and received 24 months probation, the inability to house, own, or otherwise possess, any animals for the duration of probation, and was required to forfeit ownership of the three dogs at HSSA, as well as all other animals she currently owned.
“This is a huge step forward for the animal community,” said Michelle Kleckner, HSSA Operations Coordinator and Animal Cruelty
Investigative Assistant. “Smaller towns and counties are showing the public that animal cruelty is not acceptable no matter where you live, and that it will not be
tolerated. Mr. Adams, the Graham County Attorney’s office and Robert Hernandez, ACO, all worked diligently to get these dogs justice. I am eternally grateful.”
Two of the three dogs, now named Guinevere and Lancelot, have fully recovered and have already been adopted. Arthur, the dog with the facial injuries, is still undergoing therapy, as it was also discovered that he had a crushed hip, which required surgery and physical therapy. He will not be available for adoption until he has been medically cleared, but will remain in HSSA’s care until that time.
Humane Society of Southern Arizona is the oldest nonprofit in Southern Arizona serving pets and the people who love them, HSSA is a No-Kill shelter, whose mission is to act with compassion and responsible stewardship through innovative programs, community education, prevention initiatives and helping pets find their forever homes. HSSA has saved the lives of over 1,000,000 animals in Southern Arizona. More can be found at hssaz.org.