PRESCOTT VALLEY – A Prescott woman was arrested Aug. 22 for 21 counts of alleged animal cruelty after dead dogs, rabbits, and chickens were found inside the home she had been leasing.
In June, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer (ACO) was dispatched to an animal neglect complaint in the 9800 block of E. Spurr Lane in Prescott Valley.
According to a YCSO news release, 22-year-old Marie Spak had been leasing the home and recently moved.
The ACO met with cleanup crew members who were employed by a real estate company to remove and replace carpet. One crew member told the ACO he could smell dead animals as soon as he stepped out of his truck. Inside the home, he saw feces on the walls and carpet.
Checking further, the crew member found two dead rabbits locked inside a kennel in the master bed room. Both were in an extreme case of decomposition. The odor in the house was so bad the crew had to wear respirators to work.
The ACO began checking the property and came upon a shed emitting the distinct odor of dead and decaying flesh, according to the release.
Inside the shed, the ACO opened a cardboard box and found a dead dog laying in feces and dried urine. Behind the shed, the ACO located five dead adult chickens. In nearby trash cans, two more dead dogs were found wrapped in a shower curtain. Next to the trash cans, a plastic storage bin contained 10 dead baby chickens. Another dead dog was found in the yard the next day. Records on a majority of the dogs indicate they had been adopted by Spak, according to the release.
The investigation continued with the aid of a YCSO detective who determined the dogs had been in poor health, malnourished, and neglected while in the care of Spak. In photos of the dogs taken less than a year earlier, they appeared in good health and normal in weight. The detective described the kennel containing the rabbits and another with a dead dog as “disgusting,” covered with feces and likely their ‘home’ while under Spak’s care, according to the release. The dead chickens were unkempt with their feathers matted and mangled. The detective noted photos of scratch and bite marks on a door frame inside a bathroom covered in feces indicating a dog was likely in distress and trapped.
On Aug. 22, detectives tracked down Spak at a home in Prescott. She denied allegations of cruelty claiming the deaths were caused by other external issues, such as medical conditions and weather.
She claimed making previous vet visits, but could not supply documentation, according to the release. Spak was arrested and booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center. She has since been released on a $5,000 bond and is not permitted to care or house any animals.