Son of woman killed in fire along with 31 dogs disputes hoarding allegations

The owner of the dogs, 86-year-old Marilyn Pauley, has been a registered kennel owner and dog breeder for decades.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 4:13 PM EDT
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PHOENIX (KTVK/KPHO/Gray News) - The son of a woman killed, along with 31 of her dogs, in a house fire is disputing allegations she and the animals were living in “hoarding conditions.”

The allegations come after Phoenix police said around 37 dogs were found in the home, Arizona’s Family reported, with the six surviving animals now in the custody of the Arizona Humane Society’s trauma team.

“Our priority right now is making sure these pets are being treated medically,” said Kelsey Dickerson with the Humane Society.

The woman, 86-year-old Marilyn Pauley, was a registered kennel owner and dog breeder for decades.

However, the Humane Society reported the existing animals showed signs of neglect and appeared to be coming from a possible hoarding situation.

“There are white dogs that have turned yellow from being caked in feces and urine. They’re matted, they’re underweight,” Dickerson said. “They do have tick infestation. So, I think you can draw your own conclusions from that.”

However, Evan Pauley, Marilyn Pauley’s son, is responding to the allegations, stating that they are not true.

“My mother died trying to save these dogs,” Evan Pauley said. “The words that she gave to her rescuers as they tried to pull her out of the house was ‘Leave me, save the dogs.’”

Evan Pauley said his mom was licensed to own up to 60 dogs.

He also said she was known and respected in the dog show community, with many of her dogs winning national titles.

“I can guarantee you she was not hoarding animals. She was doing what she had done successfully for many years,” Evan Pauley said.

One of Marilyn’s colleagues in the Valley of the Sun Poodle Club said she was known to have taken good care of her dogs and sold the most recent one just two days before the fire.

Evan Pauley alleged the Humane Society is targeting his mother, stating that they had been after her for a “number of years now.”

“The Humane Society does not like reputable breeders,” Evan Pauley said.

When animal rescue arrived on the scene, seven dogs were alive. Unfortunately, another dog has passed, and one remains in critical condition.

“In the state of Arizona, legally you need to provide your pets with shelter, food, and water. So if you see something, say something. An operation, whether it’s legal or not, still may be a little bit shady,” said Dickerson.

Evan Pauley said he’s fighting for his mom to be remembered as a loving and courageous dog owner, not a hoarder.

“I’m gonna miss my mom,” he said.