Phoenix police raided a pet boarding facility Thursday morning, seizing numerous sick and neglected animals from the business.
Police served the search warrant at Planet Petopia Doggie Dude Ranch on 13th Avenue and Hatcher Road.
The owners of the facility, Barb Whitley, 49, and Glen Whitley, 52, were each booked on suspicion of animal neglect, failure to provide medical care and hoarding.
The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) and police were both on the scene.
Our drone flew overhead, showing us a number of dogs being led out of the buildings.
Police say 164 animals were inside the facility. Those animals were mostly dogs and cats, but also included bunnies, turtles and chickens.
"It is not a healthy environment for animals," said Phoenix police Sgt. Alan Pfohl.
Police say this has been an ongoing investigation.
On Jan. 22, 49 animals in need of medical care were seized from the facility.
"They just aren't receiving the care that they should be receiving," said Pfohl.
According to Bretta Nelson, AHS public relations manager, their emergency animal medical technicians spent hours removing 36 dogs and 13 cats from the facility. Four of those animals have since died. "They are almost all suffering from what's called tick fever - a blood parasite," said Nelson.
On Feb. 5, three additional animals were seized.
Then on Thursday, the remaining 150-plus animals were seized.
"We came back periodically and checked on those animals just to see if they were making any progress," said Pfohl. "Unfortunately, no progress was made, and we felt it was necessary to step in and seize the animals."
Nelson described the awful conditions inside the facility, where many animals were found sick, emaciated, and sleeping on concrete with no bedding.
"Kennels with a lot of feces, diarrhea," said Nelson. "A lot of these animals had open wounds and sores; lacerations."
Officials say the facility has become less of a boarding business and more of an animal rescue.
"It has morphed into a rescue," said Nelson.
Additional charges against the Whitleys are possible.
"If anyone in the community needs to claim an animal that was being boarded at this facility, they will need to go to the City of Phoenix Courthouse at 300 West Washington Street, Courtroom 608, and request a hearing," Pfohl explained. "They will need to tell the court their animal was seized from the business. If they have further questions, they may contact Detective Krimm at 602-495-7293."
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