Crime Trackers: Homeowner who had 100 animals faces child abuse charges

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department told News 4 Tucson they discovered the animals while serving a search warrant for a welfare check.

Detectives said they found children living in deplorable conditions.

News 4 Tucson learned this wasn’t the first time deputies had investigated a tip against the homeowner, Melanie Parra.

Public Information Officer Dan Jelineo said, in November of 2017, Parra was investigated for health welfare morals.

It happened near Roger Road and Fairview.

Deputies said what they found was heartbreaking. “Deplorable living conditions, and children living in dog feces.”

Department of Child Safety was called and removed three children from the home.

The children ages eight through 11 were eventually returned to their mother.

Fast forward to last Thursday, a citizen called authorities saying there were horrible conditions at the residence in Three Points.

A multi-agency investigation followed, that included the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Child Safety as well as Pima Animal Control.

Authorities searched the home and found dozens of animals.

They said they found cats, dogs, goats, reptiles and a Gila monster.

Pima Animal Control came in and removed over one hundred animals from the property.

Most of the animals are at the Pima Animal Care Center where they will be put up for adoption.

Five children living in the house are in the custody of DPS.

Officials said Parra was charged with two counts of felony child abuse and five counts of animal cruelty.

Irma Lechuga faces three counts of felony child abuse, 20 counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of wildlife.

Sheriff’s officials said tipsters were vital to this investigation.

They added if you see something going on your neighborhood report it to law enforcement.