PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ - A Prescott woman is facing several counts of animal cruelty after multiple dead animals were found in a home she formerly leased.
Twenty-two-year-old Marie Spak was arrested on Aug. 22 after the dead animals were discovered at the house near Coyote Springs and Raya roads in Prescott Valley.
A Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office animal control officer (ACO) responded to the home after being contacted by a clean-up crew who was hired to remove and replace carpet inside the rental.
A crew member told the ACO that he could smell dead animals while standing outside the home and once inside he saw feces covering the walls and carpet, YCSO said. The crew member also found two dead rabbits locked inside a cage in the master bedroom — both were described as being in an “extreme case of decomposition.”
Investigators described the kennel as “disgusting” and concluded that the animals likely lived in the cages while in Spak’s care.
Once the ACO arrived at the scene, he or she discovered a shed in the backyard with a distinct decay-like odor, officials said. A dead dog was found in a cardboard box lying in feces and urine. Behind the shed, two more dead dogs were found wrapped in a shower curtain and another dead dog was found in the yard.
Detectives discovered scratch and bite marks on the doorframe of a bathroom inside the home, indicating that a dog was likely trapped and in distress, officials said.
Records indicate that a majority of the dogs found on the property were adopted by Spak, officials confirmed.
According to authorities, five adult chickens were also found dead behind the shed and 10 baby chicks were found dead in a storage bin.
A YCSO investigation determined that the dogs were in poor health, malnourished and neglected by Spak.
Photographs taken less than a year earlier by Spak showed the dogs in good health, YCSO said.
The suspect was arrested at a Prescott home and denied the allegations against her. She claimed the animals’ deaths were attributed to medical and weather conditions. She told deputies that she took the animals to the veterinarian but could not provide documentation to prove it.
She is facing 21 counts of animal cruelty and has since been released from the Camp Verde Detention Center on a $5,000 bond. She is not allowed to care for any animals.