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It is the mission of the Board of Supervisors and the experienced professionals at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to not only save the lives of more animals at our shelters, but also to ensure their well-being while sheltered. MCACC seeks to create an environment that minimizes stress on animals, visitors/adopters, and staff. The current east shelter falls short of our high standards for animal care. Therefore, that shelter will eventually close and a new facility in the East Valley will replace it. This new shelter will offer all services currently available at the Rio Salado location. A timeline has not been determined, but making this change will improve the quality of care animals receive countywide as well as the experience of those who would like to adopt.
Animal Care and Control wants to spend every dollar it gets on things that directly impact animal welfare. Maricopa County’s East Valley campus at Baseline Road and Mesa Drive offers an ideal location for a new animal shelter because there are no land costs. The county owns the site and there’s space available and infrastructure in place for additional services. The campus is located off the highway (US 60) with adjacent bus routes, making it easily accessible for visitors, staff, and volunteers. A specific site on the campus has not been chosen at this time.
Maricopa County staff and contracted architects considered a significant remodel and expansion of the west shelter as a way to provide a best-in-class adoption experience for residents and the best possible care for animals. During the design process, it became clear that trying to expand the existing facility would present too many obstacles to be a viable long-term solution. These obstacles included a long construction timeline that would have caused significant disruption to animal care operations. In the end, county leaders believe a multiple-shelter solution—so long as it includes a replacement for the current east shelter—will be better for animal welfare and the customer experience.
Saving lives has been, and will continue to be, the primary mission of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. In August 2018, 96% of the more than 2,700 animals that came into our shelters were adopted or relocated. Two years ago, the live-release rate was 84%
Animal intake in Maricopa County has declined 13% every year for the last five years, creating the possibility for a different approach to animal welfare that emphasizes service and prevention, not just sheltering. Our priorities include: increasing the quality of care we provide; reducing the length of stay for animals; improving the experience for customers who want to adopt; providing more resources to reunite people with their pets; and, addressing the challenges that lead people to give up their pets in the first place.
In 2017, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved $1.8 million to study and design a possible renovation and expansion of the Durango shelter. A little more than $300,000 of that amount has been spent to study operations at the Durango shelter. These findings will be used as the county considers both future improvements to the Durango shelter as well as designs for the new east shelter.
If you have questions about the future of the MASH unit, contact the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.