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Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to invest in upgraded animal care facility

(Facebook photo/MCSO MASH unit)

PHOENIX- After review, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has announced the launch of a new facility that will provide the appropriate shelter, design, hygiene and structure for animals seized during lawful actions by the department. 

It was determined that in order to meet program, care and operation needs, the new Maricopa Animal Safe Haven unit will cost approximately $8.5 million, according to MCSO. 

MASH’s new facility is planned to enter the vacant space near the corners of 27th Avenue and Lower Buckeye in Phoenix. 

“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,” Paul Penzone, Maricopa County sheriff, said in a press release. “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.”

Currently, an old jail houses the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Animal Safe Haven Unit.

Animals taken into custody of MSCO’s Animal Safe Haven Unit have been abused and neglected and are not typically expedited to the adoption process.

“Some animals stay in our care for extended periods of time requiring additional training and lengthy housing,” Penzone said. “Our facility provides long term care and rehabilitation for animals who have suffered from the most extreme cases of abuse and neglect.”

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, says MSCO.

Because of the amount of animals currently in custody, MASH is unable to expand opportunities for both the animals and inmates taking care of them.

A video of the current facility shows its conditions and inhabitants while also discussing the every day life of the animals at the facility.

Additionally, educational opportunities for the local inmate population on care, compassion and grooming of the animal population will also be offered.  

“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,” Penzone said.

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