The owners of a dog rescue in the Valley have been red-flagged by at least two county animal shelters. Staff got suspicious as the couple was frequenting the shelters too often, and taking in too many dogs.
Melissa Gable, a spokeswoman from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, said most people who came into the shelter typically adopt one dog, or on rare occasions two.
This couple took in 25 dogs from the county shelter last year. While it was not uncommon for rescue operators to take in that many dogs, Gable said they only worked with vetted rescues that they had contracts with, as part of the New Hope program.
"Kim's Caring Hearts Rescue” was not one of their partners, so the couple was placed on a "do not adopt list" after they were red-flagged.
In the tight-knit and passionate animal rescue community, what had many animal advocates riled up was finding out that several of the dogs the couple had rescued, were then dropped off and surrendered at another animal shelter.
Gable said it was extremely rare for a rescue to take in animals, then drop them off at another shelter. She added that they had immediately called the Pinal county shelter after learning about the dogs dropped off there, and learned several of them had been rescued from the Maricopa County shelter.
Randy Rotondo with Boxer Luv Rescue said it was disturbing to hear that a rescue operation was doing this.
"We never have and never will. It's really concerning when you hear that. It tarnishes the reputation of all of us in the community," said Rotondo.
ABC15 stopped by the address listed as Kim's Caring Hearts Rescue, and learned that the owner had moved out four days ago. There was trash littered all over the driveway and a padlock on the door.
Neighbors said they often heard many dogs barking in the backyard of the home. One neighbor said there were several dog cages set up in the backyard. Neighbors said they had often complained about the barking.
ABC15 left several messages for the directors of the animal rescue to find out why they were dropping off rescued dogs at other shelters. So far, no word from either of the directors.
Shelter operators in Pinal and Maricopa counties say they will not allow the couple to rescue any more dogs from their shelters, at this time.