ARIZONA NEWS

CEO of Southern Arizona Humane Society fired after animals go missing

Oct 6, 2023, 5:00 PM

A former Arizona lawmaker has been fired as CEO of an animal welfare group after dozens of small animals ended up unaccounted for. (Facebook Photo/Humane Society of Southern Arizona)

(Facebook Photo/Humane Society of Southern Arizona)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A former Arizona lawmaker has been fired as CEO of an animal welfare group after dozens of small animals ended up unaccounted for.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona on Thursday announced the termination of CEO Steve Farley. A chief operating officer, meanwhile, has resigned.

Officials with the San Diego Humane Society transported more than 300 small animals to their Tucson counterparts due to overcrowding in August. These included guinea pigs, rats, hamsters and rabbits.

Within a few days, the San Diego branch began to question the animals’ whereabouts after noticing no social media promotion for hundreds of animals up for adoption.

Upon arrival in Tucson, the animals were given to a local private rescue group in Maricopa County, according to a Sept. 30 statement from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona board.

The southern Arizona group later discovered the man operating the local rescue group was not properly licensed. In addition, the man’s brother owns a reptile farm that sells frozen and live animals for snake food.

In a written statement, Farley said he had no direct involvement in the transportation or placement of the animals and that “subsequent allegations have been very disturbing to me.”

The southern Arizona group’s board has hired a third-party investigator and the probe is ongoing.

Farley, a former Democratic candidate for governor and Tucson mayor, served in the state Senate from 2013-2019. He was with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona since February 2020.

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CEO of Southern Arizona Humane Society fired after animals go missing