ARIZONA NEWS

Sheriff Paul Penzone explains why animal abuse case is taking so long

Jul 18, 2019, 6:40 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2019, 10:04 am
(Twitter/@SgtJEnriquez)...
(Twitter/@SgtJEnriquez)
(Twitter/@SgtJEnriquez)

PHOENIX — After questions were raised as to why an animal abuse case was taking so long, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone explained the depth of the investigation.

Penzone needed to make sure the department had the answers to particular questions to ensure a tight-locked conviction and track each individual animals history.

In mid-September 2018, MCSO deputies were dispatched to the home of Domenic Asprella. A witness informed detectives of a dog’s poor conditions.

While investigators couldn’t get access to Asprella’s home at the time, Animal Crimes did receive a warrant to seize 52 dogs from Shelter Paws, a dog shelter facility ran by Asprella in Mesa, on October 4, 2018.

“I recognize there was a lot of concern, a lot of frustration and a lot of passion when this began by those who are personally or emotionally invested,” the sheriff said. “We want to see bad people come to justice expeditiously, as do I and every other member in this organization.

“We also have to make sure it’s not about putting handcuffs on in that moment, it is about ensuring our process leads to a just outcome and that we are not able to just arrest and prosecute but we’re able to convict. That means acquiring all of the necessary evidence and ensuring that we work in part with the prosecutors so that they have no unanswered questions.”

Today, 47 dogs are still being cared for in a MCSO Animal Safe Haven facility. Two of the dogs have died since their rescue and three were so aggressive in nature they could not be re-socialized and had to be euthanized. However, two owners provided proof of ownership and were able to take their dogs home.

Esprella’s treatment of these animals was so poor they were found laying in their own bodily waste and starved to the point of being in pain.

One of the first steps was to study Asprella’s finances to see if he was making any profit off the animals in his possessions, some of which were obtained from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

From January to February 2019 subpoenas from grand jury indictment went out to PayPal, J.P. Morgan Chase and GoFundMe.

It was discovered that donations exceeding $23,300 from Facebook and PayPal were placed into Asprella’s J.P. Morgan Chase Bank account.

Despite money in his account and an abundance of food in the facility, as noted by investigators, the dogs were still malnourished and were not given adequate medical attention.

This disheartening treatment comes after Esprella was supposedly saving the animals from being euthanized at other facilities.

After hundreds of hours of investigating, Esprella was served on July 15 and faces 117 counts including fraudulent schemes, cruelty to animals, intentional mistreatment and failure to provide medical treatment.

Penzone said MCSO is responsible for the dogs until they are able to adjudicate the case and adopt the animals out to more caring families.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo, File/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

2 dead, 1 in critical condition after shooting at west Phoenix residence

Two people died and one person was taken to the hospital in critical condition after a shooting Tuesday at a west Phoenix residence, authorities said. 
17 hours ago
(Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix hits 80 degrees for most days in November history

It's no triple digits, but a warm November in Phoenix was punctuated with a new heat record set on Tuesday.
17 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Cesar Chavez High School)...
KTAR.com

15-year-old boy arrested in shooting after gun sale gone wrong at Phoenix high school

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday in the shooting of a 16-year-old boy following a gun sale gone wrong at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix, police said.
17 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)...
Jim Sharpe

How about actual ‘safe spaces’ for Phoenix Union students?

Following a Monday shooting at Cesar Chavez High School, KTAR News host Jim Sharpe asks if school resource officers should have a renewed presence at Phoenix Union High School District.
17 hours ago
Adele cheers on the Phoenix Suns during the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021. (Photo...
Kevin Stone

2022 Vegas residency brings Adele within driving distance of Phoenix fans

Adele has no plans to tour on the heels of her latest smash album, but the reigning queen of musical heartbreak is going easy on Valley daydreamers willing to make the trip to Las Vegas.
17 hours ago
(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Lottery hits jackpot with $1.4B in ticket sales; winners get back $978M

Arizona cashed in on the lottery in a big way with a record $1.4 billion in ticket sales for fiscal year 2021, the state agency said Monday.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Sheriff Paul Penzone explains why animal abuse case is taking so long