Wildlife sanctuary falls victim to vandals

- Crews at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center are cleaning up, after the facility fell victim to vandals.

The facility, which rehabilitates animals, had some of its property damaged in the incident. Some of the damages include graffiti that includes foul language and Swastikas being spray-painted.

In addition, the facility's website was hacked.

"They certainly knew where things are on the property, so they've come in here at night and are familiar with the layout," said the Executive Director of the SWWCC, Linda Searles. 

Now, investigators with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident, and look for those responsible.

The owners of the facility said they don't know why anyone would do this, and they are thankful that no animals were injured. They are, however, nervous over the potential for similar incidents in the future.

"Very sad and very disheartening," said Searles. "We're afraid for the animals, and I'm afraid for the staff. The staff is nervous, so it's unfortunate."

Searles said the damage to the center's website can also have a negative impact.

"People find an injured animal, first thing you do is you go to the web and find a rescue closest to you," said Searles. "They can't find us now."

Some of the vandalism reportedly include the letters "DXE", which means "Direct Action Everywhere", an animal activism group that Searles said has denied involvement.

The owners of the facility said they are still open, and they are hoping for support on Tuesday, during Arizona Gives Day, which is a 24-hour online donation day.


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