In June of this year, 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, Prescott Valley. 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 of crew 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 2 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/decaying flesh. 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 a 5 dead adult chickens. In nearby trash cans, 2 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.
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. 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 August 22, 2017, detectives tracked down Spak at a home in Prescott. She denied allegations of cruelty claiming the deaths were caused by other external issues, i.e., medical conditions and weather. She claimed making previous vet visits, but could not supply documentation. Spak was arrested for 21 counts of Animal Cruelty 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.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260
or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov