The City of Phoenix recently passed a new ordinance that imposes stiffer penalties for people convicted of hoarding animals.
Individuals will now face a Class 1 misdemeanor if they are convicted of owning, possessing, keeping, harboring, or maintaining 10 or more animals under circumstances “injurious” to the health or welfare of any animal or person. “Injurious” can include:
- Unsanitary conditions
- Overcrowded or other inhumane conditions
- Failure to provide appropriate medical care, water suitable for drinking or food appropriate for the species
In addition to the Class 1 misdemeanor, individuals convicted of hoarding will be ordered to receive a mental-health evaluation and must pay restitution for the cost of care for the animals. The court may also order periodic property inspections and prohibit the individual from owning animals in the future.
Councilwoman Thelda Williams led efforts to implement the new ordinance, which covers mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians but excludes feral or free roaming cats, who can continue to be fed by caregivers.
Over the last few months alone, AHS’ animal cruelty investigators have responded to several hoarding cases and taken in over 100 animals, including a recent case in which 67 animals were removed from one home.
“Animal hoarding is a serious problem that we sadly see all too often,” said AHS President and CEO, Dr. Steven Hansen. “Many of these cases are truly heartbreaking, and we thank the City of Phoenix and Councilwoman Williams for helping us take a major step forward in protecting animals in our community.”