"We knew the dogs were in a safe situation, receiving food and water, but ultimately, the family needs to find homes for them and they asked for our help," said PACC Director Kristen Auerbach, who was on scene Thursday to assist in the rescue effort. "We took eight of the dogs a couple of weeks ago, focusing on those with medical issues and went back today to get the rest of them."
According to a PACC news release the owner of the dogs died in December and the family member who had been looking out for the animals asked for help.
On Thursday morning, Jan. 25, Animal Protection Officers from PACC, accompanied by shelter staff from all three organizations, arrived at the home where the dogs were located, in an unincorporated neighborhood in Pima County near Marana, to remove the remaining 17 dogs.
The dogs, which are medium and large-sized will be divided up among the three organizations and will receive vaccinations, spay or neuter surgeries and behavioral support. According to the news release, the dogs have spent their entire lives in a backyard on the property, with little human interaction.
Some of the dogs were being given behavioral support by the Decompression Program volunteers, like Ed Haswell.
"The reason we encourage fostering is that some Decompression dogs plateau at the shelter; they have made about as much progress as they are likely to in the shelter environment, even with the specialized attention they get in the program," he said in an email to Tucson News Now. "A good home environment and consistent, kind treatment can allow them to relax and continue to learn and grow into their real selves, free of fear."
You can help foster one of these dogs by reaching out directly to the Decompression Program's foster group via email: DecomFosters@gmail.com.
"This is a team effort, and HSSA is proud to be part of it," said Brandy Burke, Chief Operations Officer at The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, said in the recent release.
"Our community has made real strides in the past few years, funding the bond for PACC and donating to local animal welfare groups, so that when situations like this occur, we have the ability to step in and assist. So, this is not only a team effort on the part of the three organizations here today, it is really a community effort," said Burke, who was also on scene Thursday.
These dogs have lived with other dogs, but are fearful of humans and shy. Some can walk on a leash while others still have to be carried.
"They're shy and scared because they're being taken away from the only home they've ever known," said Rory Adams, Shelter Director for Hope Animal Shelter. "Ultimately, the thing that will help them the most is to go to foster and adoptive homes. We will need the community's help to make that happen."
If you're interested in adopting or fostering one of these rescued dogs, please visit each organization's social media outlets and pet listing websites to find out when the dogs become available.
PACC currently needs immediate fosters for at least eight of the dogs. To foster one of these pets, please email PACC's foster coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.