Eyes of a Friend

Life with companion animals

Sheriff Joe wants to let some 4-footed inmates out of jail

on February 25, 2010

Sheriff Joe Arpaio hoping to find permanent homes for nearly 40 pitbulls

– Phoenix Arizona| ABC15 News


“…Though he is aiming to tackle the pitbull problem specifically, the Sheriff said over 200 animals (dogs, cats, horses and pigs) are living behind bars today.

Since Sheriff Arpaio opened the MASH unit (Maricopa County Animal Safe House) 10 years ago, over 1,500 animals have been incarcerated, usually for years at a time.

Arpaio says most of the animals live a good life in his jails — eating well, getting exercise and proper grooming — all thanks to work done by inmates.

Many of those inmates have benefited from the animals by getting work in the pet care industry upon their release from jail.

Since Arpaio’s jail is a no-kill animal shelter, pets like Queenie can be there an awfully long time.

“Years ago, I had a pink neon VACANCY sign erected above Tent City to tell the world that here in this county, there would always be room in jail for the bad guys,” Arpaio said. “The same thing is true for the dogs and cats we take in from abuse and neglect cases. We’ll always have room for them too. But to accomplish that goal, we need to get some of these animals adopted.”

Since opening day, the Sheriff’s MASH unit has operated almost completely on donations and not on tax payer monies.

With fewer people or families here adopting from the MASH unit, Arpaio is looking for creative ways to reduce the population of his adoptable animals.

The Sheriff uses resources such as long-haul truckers, his statewide inmate transportation vans and airplanes to drop the animals off at their new homes outside the Phoenix-Metro area.

Arpaio said of his MASH unit, “I run a no-kill animal shelter and I intend to keep it that way.”

According to Arpaio, it costs about $100 to adopt one of the dogs. Anyone interested is encouraged to call 602-876-1212.”

I don’t always agree with Sheriff Joe, but the one thing I’ve always loved about him is his program to provide shelter and good care for abandoned/mistreated animals. The inmates who learn to care for them are helped as are the dogs. Let’s get some of those jail-dogs out of their “pink underwear” and into good homes on the other side of the razor wire!


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