ASPCA assists Union County Sheriff’s Office in Their Rescue of More than 40 Severely Neglected Dogs from Cruelty Situation in New Mexico

The animals, some extremely underweight with untreated medical issues, along with over 50 deceased dogs, were found in filthy, overcrowded conditions
June 21, 2022

Des Moines, N.M.—At the request of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is on the ground assisting the Sheriff’s Office with their urgent rescue of more than 40 severely neglected dogs, along with a horse, from a cruelty situation in Des Moines, N.M., approximately 200 miles northeast of Santa Fe. When law enforcement initially arrived on the property, they discovered the dogs living in filthy and overcrowded conditions, many in small cages covered in urine and feces and exposed to dangerous levels of ammonia. Some of the dogs were extremely underweight and suffering from untreated medical issues. More than 50 deceased dogs were also found in the home and in a garage on the property. 

The ASPCA is providing support with operational planning and removal, evidence collection, legal and investigative assistance, forensics exams, medical and behavioral care, and sheltering for the animals. The majority of the dogs are being relocated to an emergency shelter operated by the ASPCA at an undisclosed location to receive ongoing care and treatment. New Mexico-based animal rescue group Helping Paws Across Borders also provided boots-on-the-ground assistance with this operation.

“As soon as ASPCA responders stepped foot on this property, it was clear immediate intervention was needed to protect the lives of these severely neglected animals who were left to suffer in extremely inhumane conditions,” said Leigh Anne Wilson, director of investigations for ASPCA Legal Advocacy and Investigations. “The ASPCA is grateful to be in a position where we can respond at a moment’s notice, and now our priority is to bring these animals to safety and provide them with much-needed care. We commend the Union County Sheriff’s Office for recognizing the need for expert assistance in this case and for prioritizing animal welfare in their community.”

The ASPCA’s subject matter experts are helping local authorities collect evidence to support their investigation. Any criminal charges resulting from this case will be handled by the Union County District Attorney. The ASPCA is also providing support to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

The ASPCA deploys nationally to assist local authorities in animal cruelty cases including animal fighting, hoarding, and puppy mills. They also provide local communities with resources including grant funding, training, and subject matter expertise to effectively assist animals during cruelty and disaster situations.