Here’s why Maricopa County is seeing a rise in Huskies in shelters

Sep 21, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 3:31 pm

PHOENIX — Animal shelters in Arizona are seeing a growing number of Huskies enter the shelter system.

“It definitely seems to be getting worse overtime,” CEO and founder of AZ Husky Rescue Alison Nicolosi said.

Nicolosi spoke to members of the media on Tuesday at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC). Her organization partners with MCACC and steps in to rescue huskies when they are scheduled to be euthanized.

“We’ve been pulling since 2020 with the shelter, and since that time, we’ve seen the number of Huskies in the shelters go from around 15 at the very low to about 30-40 on average the last few years,” Nicolosi said.

That number, however, is much higher this year, as the average has climbed to 80-90 dogs. On Tuesday, there were 112 Huskies in MCACC’s East and West shelters out of the nearly 900 total number of dogs.

Why do so many huskies end up in shelters?

Nicolosi said Huskies are now among the most common breeds that local shelters see.

“It used to be we’d see German Shepherds and German Shepherd mixes always would be number two after Pitbulls, and I think it might be at a point where Huskies have surpassed them this year,” Nicolosi said.

She explained one theory for the uptick is due to a large number of owners who adopted while they were working from home during the pandemic and underestimated the breed’s energy levels.

“They’re crazy! They get really, really excitable. They have a lot of energy, and people are not able to keep up with the exercise that they need,” Nicolosi said.

Still, she said the breed has a lot of positives too and pointed to their loving and friendly nature along with their big personalities.

What Husky owners should prepare for

Alaina Muinzer, the Animal Behavior Administrator at MCACC told KTAR News 92.3FM that while every Husky is unique, if you want to own one, you should prepare to give them exercise for their brain as well as their body.

“Physical exercise is always great, but there’s a lot of things you can do for mental exercise and mental stimulation for them, which is just as important for them, with them being a working breed,” Muinzer said.

She said one quick and easy tip to give them some mental work is to put some water in their food and freeze it, which will prolong meals while providing that mental stimulation.

She suggested taking a quality-over-quantity approach to spending time with your dog.

“When people think of Huskies, they think they need to go running six miles a day and that’s the only way you can successfully own a Husky, and that’s not necessarily true,” Muinzer said. “If you only have 30 minutes a day to spend with your dog, OK, let’s just make it a really great 30 minutes.”

How to adopt a Husky

Nicolosi stressed the importance of adopting from a shelter over a breeder.

“The biggest takeaway we want people to have is that if you’re looking for a Husky, or pretty much any specific breed honestly, you can find it at the shelter,” Nicolosi said.

Through a partnership with BISSELL Pet Foundation, MCACC is currently holding an “Empty the Shelters” event where adoption fees are waived for dogs six months and older until Oct. 15. To see adoptable dogs, visit the county shelter website.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News


Valley organized retail thief sentenced to 3.5 years in prison

The 40-year-old stole over $1,000,000 in stolen merchandise from home improvement stores across the Southwest.

3 hours ago

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

4 hours ago

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is seeking to revoke the probation of 20-year-old Jacob Penni...

Danny Shapiro

MCAO seeks to revoke probation for East Valley youth violence suspect arrested on alcohol charges

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said Thursday her office has filed a petition to revoke probation for an East Valley youth violence suspect who was arrested on an alcohol charge the same day of his sentencing.

4 hours ago

It was a hazy Thursday in Phoenix. (ADOT traffic camera photo)...

Notice the hazy day in Phoenix? Here’s why it happened

It was a hazy Thursday in the Phoenix area and forecasters said there was a good reason for the abnormal conditions.

6 hours ago

Attorney General Kris Mayes sued Arizona on June 20, 2024, in an attempt to block the state from us...

AG Kris Mayes sues Arizona over plan to use $115 million in opioid settlement funds for budget deficit

Attorney General Kris Mayes sued Arizona on Thursday in an attempt to block the state from using $115 million in opioid settlement funds to remedy budget deficits.

8 hours ago

The shooting death of a 39-year-old man on Interstate 10 in Phoenix on June 10, 2024 has been ruled...

Shooting death of 39-year-old man on Interstate 10 in Phoenix ruled a homicide

The shooting death of a 39-year-old man on Interstate 10 in Phoenix earlier this month has been ruled a homicide, authorities said Thursday.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Here’s why Maricopa County is seeing a rise in Huskies in shelters