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Protesters gather outside of MCSO in wake of Shelter Paws case

Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-21 20:11:32-04

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office headquarters Saturday to demand action in a case of alleged animal abuse. 

“People can not get away with doing this to God’s little creatures,” Cathy Ryan, one of the demonstrators, told ABC15. 

Earlier this month, deputies seized more than 50 dogs from Shelter Paws, near Loop 202 and Main in Mesa. 

Investigators said the animals were living in dirty conditions, many of them malnourished. One animal died, and the surviving dogs were moved to the agency's MASH unit to be cared for.

“We are wondering why it’s taken so long for the investigation to go on to get this to the prosecutor’s office,” said Laura Zundel, who organized the demonstration. 

Zundel said many of the dogs at Shelter Paws belonged to people who were paying the so-called rescue to temporarily board and train them. She said the dogs’ owners have been unable to reach investigators to retrieve their personal pets. 

In a statement, Sheriff Paul Penzone said: 

“The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting, and will continue to conduct, thorough criminal investigations related to crimes against animals. We work with the County Attorney to determine if and when criminal charges or indictments are appropriate and act according to lawful probable cause. We will not be influenced by, nor reactionary to, public protests intended to provoke premature judgements or actions that undermine any individual’s right to a lawful review of all facts. Everyone is entitled to due process and we are committed to enforcing all laws under our authority. All seized animals will continue to receive the care, love and compassion necessary for their recovery and we will remain steadfast within our mission of public safety.”