55 dogs, elderly woman rescued: BCSO provides update on animal hoarding case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The nightmare is finally over for an elderly woman and more than 50 dogs rescued from a home in southwest Albuquerque.

More than a year ago, law enforcement first got a report about very skinny dogs at a home on Camino Alameda.

Deputies have since visited the home multiple times. Concerned neighbors had contacted them, as well as John Lopez – one of the brothers who was living in the home with his elderly mother.

John even sent photos and videos to investigators showing the deplorable conditions. That got deputies a search warrant, and they went in this past Tuesday.

“The home was in pretty poor condition with the amount of animals that were inside doing damage to the furniture, walls, flooring,” said Meagan Rose, officer with Animal Care Services.

Deputies found 55 pit bulls in various stages of neglect and starvation – and not an ounce of dog food.

“They’re eating their own feces,” Rose said. “There was not food found anywhere on the property at all.”

Deputies said the mother at the home was also desperate for medical care.

“Their mother was severely neglected,” said Sgt. Autumn Nees with BCSO. “She had significantly matted hair and was unmedicated for diabetes and dementia and she received medical care.”

Deputies arrested both John and his brother, Michael Lopez. Judges have already released them. They are charged with extreme animal cruelty and neglect of a resident. They could face up to 55 counts for each dog recovered.

“By allowing those contagious conditions to persist, they were intentionally keeping it like that and intentionally neglecting both their mother and the animals in the home,” said Kevin Carhart, a BCSO detective.

The dogs were taken to the Bernalillo County Animal Resource Center for treatment, but for some, it was already too late and they had to be euthanized.

Animal Care reps arranged to send about half of the surviving pups to a sanctuary in Utah. In the meantime, they’re building their strength back on a strict feeding program.

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