Arizona woman arrested on nearly 150 animal abuse and neglect charges

Feb 26, 2024, 10:00 AM

Mugshot of Jill Houchens, who was arrested Feb. 19, 2024, on 146 counts of animal abuse and neglect...

Jill Houchens was arrested Feb. 19, 2024, on 146 counts of animal abuse and neglect in Hereford, Arizona. (Cochise County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Cochise County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona woman faces nearly 150 charges after more than 20 animals, including five that were dead, were removed from her property earlier this month, authorities said.

Jill Houchens, 56, was booked on 146 counts of animal cruelty and neglect, including 27 felonies, on Feb. 19, according to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation was launched Feb. 6 in response to reports that multiple animals were being kept in unsanitary conditions on Houchens’ property in Hereford, an unincorporated community about 95 miles southeast of Tucson. She also allegedly had dead animals in a freezer in her home.

Houchens was known to operate animal rescue and pet sitting services, CCSO said.

What did authorities find in Arizona animal abuse case?

County animal control officers and deputies served a search warrant on Feb. 9 and found animals living in squalor, with no clean area for them to stand and little or no water or food available.

Authorities removed 19 live animals and five dead ones. Eight of the surviving animals required medical attention for embedded nails, infections, severe matting and other issues.

According to Tucson TV station KVOA, Houchens is a former Cochise County animal control officer with a reputation as an animal advocate.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Arizona woman arrested on nearly 150 animal abuse and neglect charges