Abandoned Chihuahuas cost Western Arizona Humane Society more than $24K

July 24, 2018

Raised in a broken home, Pete and Wilson were rarely supervised. The siblings were surrounded by filth among their brothers and sisters, neglected, denied medical care, and finally abandoned. When they ended up behind bars this summer, it was clear they never had a chance – until now.

Of more than 30 Chihuahuas abandoned throughout Lake Havasu City over the past year, only Pete and Wilson remain in the care of the Western Arizona Humane Society after a series of public adoption events and private adoptions at the Humane Society’s animal shelter.

Pete and Wilson were the last of their siblings who haven’t yet been adopted to Havasu families as of Monday.

Last September, 15 Chihuahuas were left in boxes at seven locations throughout Havasu, including area businesses, veterinary offices and on Havasu residents’ front porches. Each was accompanied by letters indicating the animals could no longer be cared for. On April 30, eight more Chihuahuas were left in a cage on the doorstep of the Western Arizona Humane Society’s Havasu animal shelter. On May 1, eight more were abandoned in similar fashion.

An anonymous tip to Lake Havasu City animal control officers in early May led to the arrest of three suspects in the case. Nathan M. Pulliam, 40, and Christina M. McMillan, 43, were each charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty. The third suspect, Chrissy McMillan, 22, was charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty.

Pulliam and Christina McMillan accepted plea agreements on May 17. Of the 31 counts facing them, each pleaded guilty to five counts of cruelty to animals. They were each sentenced to $1,000 in fines, 40 hours of community service, three years of probation and suspended sentences of 56 days in jail. They were each given credit for four days’ time served.

Chrissy McMillan pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to animals, and was fined $250. She was also sentenced to 20 hours of community service.

Of penalties paid, however, the Humane Society may have paid the most. According to Gillmore, 18 more Chihuahuas were surrendered to the Humane Society’s care by Pulliam’s family after his conviction, raising the total number of Chihuahuas to 49. Between spaying, neutering, vaccinating, sheltering and feeding each animal, Gillmore said, the cost to the Humane Society was an estimated $500 to $600 per dog.

The Chihuahuas were adopted to families in Havasu for $69 each.

“It goes to show that animals have no rights,” Gillmore said. “They’ve found better homes now, and they’re all nice and healthy. I just wish the courts were harder on these people. If people know the punishment will be light, they’ll just keep doing it.”

According to Gillmore, many of the dogs required rehabilitation and training to be made ready for new homes. “Most of them were just not sociable,” Gillmore said. “In that environment, it was a sad thing. They were living in filth.”

According to Gillmore, animal hoarding is less of an issue in Havasu than in other areas of Mohave County, but it can lead to a poor quality of life for animals no matter where they are.

“I think the city should put a limit on the number of pets someone can have,” Gillmore said. “These people had more than 30 dogs, and without spaying or neutering, there are just going to be more dogs.”

For more information about the Western Arizona Humane Society, how to donate, or how to adopt any of the animals in the organization’s care, visit www.westernarizonahumane.org, or call 928-855-5083.

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