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30 Mastiffs rescued from mass breeder as the cost of living rises: "Animals pay the price"

Mastiff at rescue center
(Image credit: azmastiffrescue/Facebook)

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.

Mastiff rescued from mass breeder

(Image credit: Facebook / AZmastiffrescue)

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 (opens in new tab) for more information. 

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.