Maricopa MASH Unit hoping to get dogs adopted before holidays

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 14, 2016

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help. Not to solve a crime, but to have people open up their hearts and homes to dozens of animals housed in a shelter operated by Joe Arpaio's MASH Unit.

Arpaio started the unit in 2000 — vowing to save animals who were victims of crime and to go after the perpetrators; making sure they paid the price.

From dogs, to cats, birds, lizards, snakes, llamas, horses, goats and other livestock, deputies had rescued many animals over the years.

Dozens of them were housed in an old county jail, run by deputies, volunteers and inmate laborers.

"It's almost a second welcoming home for the dog," said Detective Doug Matteson, an MCSO spokesperson. 

Every animal in there has been a victim of neglect and abuse; rescued from homes where they were forced to live in small crates or boxes and their only purpose was to breed.

"They're brought here where they're cared for, treated, loved, and hopefully adopted out by a good family," Matteson said.

A big priority before the outgoing sheriff left his post, was to find a home for a special dog named Tiger, a mixed breed rescued from a fighting ring.

Tiger was just a puppy, in-training to fight when he was rescued. He was adopted out pretty quickly but his second owner shot him, so Tiger found himself back at the MASH Unit. Nine years later, he is still living there.

Matteson said in those nine years, Tiger has been treated and trained by staff.  He's described as a "great dog" who would be perfect for a family with no other pets or small children.

"They're innocent victims. If you look in their eyes all they want is love. In their past life they were abused and neglected and not loved at all," Matteson said.

If you're interested in meeting Tiger, or any other animals at the MASH Unit you can call them directly at 602-876-1212.

MASH also has a Facebook page where they feature adoptable animals and behind-the-scenes tidbits.