Man accused of neglecting dozens of animals at a south Phoenix farm

Joe Lewis Salazar Jr. is facing dozens of animal cruelty charges.
Joe Lewis Salazar Jr. is facing dozens of animal cruelty charges.(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 2:16 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A south Phoenix man is facing nearly 70 counts of animal cruelty charges after authorities say he was neglecting his 33 livestock animals at his farm. Court documents say Joe Lewis Salazar, 57, was arrested Tuesday afternoon.

Phoenix police responded to a farm near 16th Street and Southern Avenue for an unrelated call on July 19. At some point, officers contacted Salazar’s sister, who lives just to the south, and she told them of severe neglect and animal cruelty happening on the property. Officers went outside and found a dead cow lying in the southwest corner near the fence and three bulls eating from a small hay bale. Authorities also found a baby cow limping and discovered that no shade protected the cattle from the heat except for some trees. Officers also couldn’t find water or food containers.

Later, an officer found a bull that appeared to have its left leg infected. That’s when police contacted investigators from the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the state assistant veterinarian to check out the animals. Court documents say that the vet said a baby calf, a bull, a cow missing an eye, and a horse needed to be euthanized because of the seriousness of the injuries. Investigators believe those injuries likely resulted from neglect that occurred over “several months.”

Authorities served a search warrant on Tuesday, and all of Salazar’s livestock, 33 in total, were seized after police say Salazar did not seek veterinary care that had been ordered by officers the previous week.

Salazar faces three counts of animal cruelty with physical injuries, 33 counts of neglect and abandonment, and 33 counts of failure to provide medical treatment.