A non-profit rescue organization in Phoenix, Ariz., is struggling to care for over a dozen German shepherds who were recently rescued from a backyard breeder/hoarder.
The rescue effort began on Feb.1, after a small, area animal shelter alerted Saving Paws Rescue about an elderly man who was being evicted from his home in Parker, Ariz.
The alert came via an email which stated that there were dozens of German shepherds who were roaming the property and appeared to be neglected.
Volunteers with Saving Paws quickly mobilized and drove to the property, armed with food and crates. There, they were shocked by what they found.
Dozens of German shepherds, varying in age and health, were roaming the property, which was littered with trash. Some dogs were chained to cars or confined to the inside of a dark trailer.
A volunteer described the conditions:
My shock at what I saw was horrible. Pens that are full of fecal matter nothing to lay on but the dirt and water buckets either empty or with very little dirty water.
Many of the dogs were obviously neglected. One dog who had possibly been hit by a car, and was unable to move around, was chewing on the leg of a cow who had died somewhere on the property.
The volunteers began the tedious process of negotiating with the elderly man about surrendering the dogs to their care.
Through many conversations, the volunteers discovered that the man cared little for the well-being of the dogs, aside from what money he could make off of the puppies they produced.
He told the volunteers that hoped to sell the puppies, unaltered and un-vaccinated, on Craigslist.
Due to the possibility of making some money off of the dogs, he was reluctant to turn over any who could still be sold or bred. He was, however, happy to surrender the elderly, sick and injured dogs.
Some dogs had obvious hip dysplasia and arthritis, others were suffering from long-untreated ear infections and wounds which were the result of ongoing squabbles between the unaltered dogs.
A rescue volunteer described the tension from the unaltered dogs on the property:
It sounded like a free for all at breeding time with him admitting to several dog fights. Easy to see with the scarring on several of the older males faces.
While the volunteers were there, two females, one senior and one young, began to fight. The elderly man proceeded to beat the older dog with a PVC pipe until they stopped.
Another dog, a senior, who was thankfully removed from the property, was so sickly that he appeared dead when the volunteers first saw him.
The following describes that first moment:
... took me over by a fence and the dog was stretched out and appeared dead. Very thin body and concave in stomach area.
He said the dog had had a stroke and I could take him. I got down to see if the dog was even alive and noticed a smell.
The dog lifted his head and his eyes were cloudy and he had a problem focusing on me. The head went back down.
On the first day of the rescue mission, the volunteers were able to leave with several of the old dogs who were in desperate need of care.
On a return trip several days later, move the the dogs were relinquished, but not all.
In fact, the rescue organization fears that the elderly man may leave some dogs behind when he moves away.
Currently, friends and supporters of the rescue are reaching out to the La Paz County Sheriff, requesting that officials act quickly to ensure that the remaining dogs who are obviously neglected, be removed from the property.
Right now, most of the dogs are being treated at the Bethany Animal Hospital.
Anyone who is interested in making a donation for veterinary expenses is asked to phone: 602-242-1657 and indicate that the funds are for the Saving Paws Rescue Parker dogs.
Donations can also be made through the rescue organization's website at this link.
Follow this massive rescue effort at this Facebook page for Saving Paws Rescue.
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