Maricopa Animal Safe Haven Launches in Phoenix; Announces Campaign to Raise $8.5 Million for New Phoenix Facility
(PHOENIX – April 2, 2021) – The Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office (MSCO) Animal Safe Haven Unit, which is currently located at the former 1st Avenue Jail at 102 W. Madison Street in downtown Phoenix, was first formed in 2001. The old jail was meant to serve as a temporary facility offering care, training and health services for animals seized during lawful actions by MCSO.
Although it is MSCO’s intention to transition these animals to caring, loving homes, the way they must take custody of these animals impacts their authority to expedite adoption. “Some animals stay in our care for extended periods of time requiring additional training and lengthy housing,” says Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone. “Our facility provides long term care and rehabilitation for animals who have suffered from the most extreme cases of abuse and neglect.”
Given the time many animals spend at the facility, the current buildings condition makes it nearly impossible to effectively rehabilitate the animals MASH serves. The overcrowded facility houses cats and dogs inside the old jail cells still furnished with metal beds and utilities. Split on multiple floors, it is difficult for the dogs to maneuver through the facility to the modified roof where animals spend 15 minutes a day socializing in the outdoors.
In an effort to raise the funds required to build a safe, state-of-the-art facility for these abused, neglected animals, MSCO and partners have launched a new 501c3 non-profit organization called Maricopa Animal Safe Haven (MASH). MASH’s mission is to provide appropriate medical care for the animals, work with the judicial system to determine ownership, and eventually ensure the animals are rehomed.
To develop the new location, MASH worked with a private third-party consulting firm that specializes in animal care and facilities. After evaluation, it was determined that in order to meet program, care, design and operation needs, the new facility will cost approximately $8.5 million.
“MASH seeks to raise $8.5 million to fund a new facility and expand opportunities for the benefit of the animals and the inmate population,” says Penzone. “Once funded, we will build a state-of-the-art facility that offers the appropriate shelter, design, hygiene, apparatus, structure and social setting to accommodate up to 125 canine and 100 feline occupants.”
The new and improved MASH facility is being planned for the vacant space near the corners of 27th Avenue and Lower Buckeye in Phoenix. In addition to the updated animal care components the new building will also incorporate a training center, which will provide educational opportunities for the local inmate population on care, compassion and grooming of the animal population. The current facility offers limited programming like this, but with modernization, it can expand exponentially.
“I believe we can develop a program where inmates work daily with these animals while receiving education on care and compassion. The time spent with these abused and vulnerable animals will teach lessons on patience, responsibility, care and love that would translate to their own lives once they return to the community and their own families,” states Penzone.
The MCSO invites media to tour the current facility and interview Sheriff Paul Penone to learn more about the planned new center both in person and virtually.
To learn more, become partner in this endeavor, or make a contribution, please visit www.mcsomash.org.