Maricopa County needs public help to catch alleged puppy abuser from Scottsdale

Dec 21, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 11:41 am

PHOENIX — Maricopa County officials asked the public to help apprehend an alleged puppy abuser on Wednesday.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced the indictment of Scottsdale man Lester Paul Richmond on one count of subjecting a domestic animal to cruel mistreatment.

That’s a class five felony, which is the highest level of punishment an animal abuser can face in Arizona, MCAO announced.

“Cruelty to animals is a senseless and heinous crime,” Mitchell said. “My office takes these crimes very seriously.”

Richmond’s crime took place in June, according to police.

What is the alleged puppy abuser accused of doing?

A 911 call alerted the Scottsdale Police Department about a dead puppy found in an alley near Miller Road and Latham Street with its mouth duct taped shut.

Scottsdale police kicked off their investigation on June 27.

After canvassing the neighborhood, interviewing neighbors and pouring over surveillance footage, Scottsdale police identified Richmond and 32-year-old Heather Auditor as their suspects. They arrested the duo during a July 20 traffic stop near Miller Road and Pierce Street.

Detectives later found evidence suggesting they were related to the case while conducting a search warrant of their residence, according to Scottsdale police.

“After Richmond was arrested in July, we furthered the case back to Scottsdale PD for more investigation, so the defendant was subsequently released,” MCAO spokesperson Karla Navarrete told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Now that Scottsdale police resubmitted Richmond’s case, MCAO has all its ducks in a row to move forward with their prosecution.

But it’s hard to prosecute someone who can’t be found.

“Our investigators have been trying to locate him to serve him with a summons, to no avail,” Navarrete said. “We need the public’s help in locating him. There is an active warrant for his arrest.”

Anyone with information about Richmond can submit tips to Scottsdale PD online or over the phone at 480-312-5000.

We want to hear from you.

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

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Maricopa County needs public help to catch alleged puppy abuser from Scottsdale