PHOENIX - A Phoenix-area animal rescue group is asking for fosters or permanent homes to come forward after dozens of dogs were rescued from hoarding, and situations like this are becoming more common, an animal welfare advocate says, and she has some reasons why this could be.
Arizona Mastiff Rescue says more than 30 English Mastiffs were saved from a hoarding situation. The rescue focuses on saving larger breeds like Cane Corso, Great Danes or any Mastiff type.
This year, the rescue has been busier than ever before.
"An 80-year-old man in Cottonwood was breeding nonstop. That’s how he made a living. He had multiple dogs in broken-down vehicles on his property and living on chains," said Darlene Spencer, president of Arizona Mastiff Rescue.
She says it's a situation becoming all too common and her kennel is always filled.
"I think pre-COVID and during COVID, everybody wanted a dog. So it put a lot of people into this, ‘I can breed these dogs, I can make a lot of money,’" she says.
These backyard breeders, Spencer says, started popping up everywhere, hoping to make a quick buck but not treating the dogs as they should.
"It's a huge problem right now. With the housing situation being so expensive, jobs, the cost of living is so high right now, people are looking for other ways to make income without having to do a lot of work. It's sad," Spencer said.
Coupled with the fact that many people who bought or rescued dogs during the quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic now can't afford to keep them or simply don't want them anymore.
It's hard for Spencer to talk about the colossal impact it's having.
"I think that the animals pay the price," Spencer said.
It's a problem she knows isn't going to solve itself.
"I wish people would quit breeding for two years," she said, saying she thinks it'll get the number of situations like this to decrease.
Many of the dogs rescued from horrible conditions have aggression issues and have to be put down. Spencer just keeps fighting the good fight and rescues as many as she can.
"I've been doing rescue for about 20, maybe 21 years. This is the worst I've ever seen it," Spencer said.
If you can help foster or even want to adopt one of the dogs, contact Arizona Mastiff Rescue https://www.azmastiffrescue.com/.