ARIZONA NEWS

Chandler woman facing animal cruelty charges seeking custody of 47 dogs

Oct 4, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 9:41 pm

Chandler woman accused of abusing over 50 special needs dogs...

April McLaughlin, 48, is facing 55 charges of animal cruelty. Her arrest followed weeks of social media activism from a network of animal rights advocates. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — A Chandler woman accused of abusing 55 dogs is trying to get some of the seized animals back in her custody, according to a petition filed Tuesday.

April McLaughlin, 48, who is facing 55 charges of animal cruelty, filed the petition under the name Sydney McKinley.

She is seeking the return of 47 dogs that are currently under the care of the Arizona Humane Society. The animals were seized by AHS and the Chandler Police Department in September.

Social media activism leads to investigation

McLaughlin’s arrest came after weeks of social media activism from a network of animal rights advocates. Rebecca Arizmendi, a board member of Texas-based Yaqui Animal Rescue, led the charge.

Arizmendi sent two disabled dogs to McLaughlin’s organization, the Special Needs Animal Welfare League.

After failing to receive updates on the dogs, Arizmendi received anonymous footage showing dogs in hoarding-like conditions at McLaughlin’s home. In response, Arizmendi, along with two members, traveled from Texas to Arizona.

They connected with Valley-based shelters for help and word began to spread about McLaughlin’s alleged treatment of the animals.

As a result, Chandler Police saw an increase in calls related to animal cruelty allegations, according to court documents.

What condition was the Chandler house found in?

AHS was able to secure a search warrant on Sept. 9 for McLaughlin’s home, where welfare workers noticed strong urine and feces odors near the front door along with a large cluster of flies.

AHS arrived at the home a few days later and noticed the dogs in poor condition. During a third visit, they identified five dogs in especially dangerous conditions, according to court documents.

Authorities seized the 55 dogs as a result. During the seizure, they found five dead puppies stored in the freezer next to food, according to court documents.

In addition to animal cruelty, she is facing one count of abusing a vulnerable adult after investigators interviewed McLaughlin’s mother, who was also living at the home.

The court hearing for the seized animals is Oct. 11.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Man facing charges for alleged drug trafficking in 2018-19...

KTAR.com

Mexican drug trafficker extradited, to face charges in Arizona court

A Mexican national was extradited from his home country and will face charges for alleged drug trafficking in an Arizona court, authorities announced Wednesday.

1 hour ago

Arizona rancher Jim Chilton and his wife Sue Chilton speaks on stage  on the third day of the Repub...

KTAR.com

3 Arizonans speak at Day 3 of Republican National Convention

Arizona rancher Jim Chilton and his wife and businessman David Lara spoke at the third day of the Republican National Convention.

2 hours ago

FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks during a roundtable discuss...

KTAR.com

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff to campaign in Arizona this week

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will campaign in Tempe in an effort to push improvement of public transportation.

4 hours ago

After a mountain lion had wandered onto the campus of the Tucson Medical Center on Friday, it was r...

KTAR.com

Wildlife officials relocate mountain lion caught on Arizona hospital campus

After a mountain lion roamed the campus of the Tucson medical center on Friday, it was safely released into the wild on Saturday.

6 hours ago

Maxine, a three-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, was the only dog not to get adopted during ...

KTAR.com

Arizona Humane Society offering free adoptions in Scottsdale for pets older than 6 months

Arizona Humane Society is offering free pet adoptions for animals older than six months at its Scottsdale PetSmart location.

7 hours ago

...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Chandler woman facing animal cruelty charges seeking custody of 47 dogs