Complaints from neighbors and a citation for illegally burning urine-soaked newspaper has prompted an investigation into possible animal hoarding and animal cruelty at a home west of Las Cruces in Doña Ana County.
The Animal Cruelty Task Force with the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department obtained two warrants for a home off N. Fairacres Rd. on Thursday, after evidence suggested approximately 25 dogs were being kept inside the home. There were also as many as 100 chickens and ducks on the property, some of which were housed in cramped cinder-block pens in the backyard. Other fowl were seen wandering in the front yard.
A broken sewer pipe was discovered once deputies and Doña Ana County animal control officers entered the home. The break allowed raw sewage to pool on the property, and animal control officers observed ducks swimming in the sewage and drinking from it.
The homeowner recently received a citation from the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department after neighbors complained he was burning newspapers outside his home that dogs had urinated and defecated on.
The home is located in the Extra-Territorial Zone (ETZ) between Las Cruces city limits and Doña Ana County. ETZ ordinances forbid property owners from having more than six animals on their property without a permit, and fowl cannot be kept in the front yard.
Other violations noted on the property Thursday include several inoperable vehicles, heavy accumulation of trash inside and outside of the home, excessive animal waste, no vaccination documentation, and none of the animals appeared to have been spayed or neutered.
Investigators will continue to assess the situation and determine what citations will be issued to the homeowner.
Any animal that is seized from the property will be examined by the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department’s veterinarian and given proper medical treatment, if necessary.