While 30 Mastiffs rescued from a mass breeder in Phoenix may sound like a rare event, it’s a situation that’s becoming all too common, says Arizona Mastiff Rescue, a group dedicated to saving large breed dogs like the Cane Corso, Great Dane, and English Mastiff.
Darlene Spencer, president of Arizona Mastiff Rescue, says that this year has been busier than ever, with more people taking up breeding to fuel the increased demand for dogs.
"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,’ mindset" she says.
Backyard breeders have been popping up all over the place Spencer explains, with people seeing it as a quick way to make some extra money, but because they’re inexperienced, the dogs aren’t being treated the way they should be.
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It’s an issue this most recent mass rescue has painfully highlighted. "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.”
Spencer finds it difficult to talk about the impact that the skyrocketing cost of living and the pandemic are having, both on people and on the innocent animals that often get caught up in the desperate financial situation that many are finding themselves in.
"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. I think the animals pay the price."
In all her years of doing what she does, Spencer has never seen a year like 2022. "I've been doing rescue for about 20, maybe 21 years. This is the worst I've ever seen it.”
Yet in spite of the challenges, she remains determined to keep fighting on behalf of our canine companions and rescuing as many as she can.
Right now, with the 30 Mastiffs that have just been rescued, Arizona Mastiff Rescue needs foster parents more than ever until all the dogs in their care can find forever homes. If you feel in a position to help, please visit the AZ Mastiff Rescue website for more information.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.