A homeless family living in the Arizona desert with more than 150 animals has now been relocated, and most of the dogs have been taken by animal shelters for rehoming. In August 2022, the State Land Trust alerted the authorities about a family living on the state-owned land near Wittman, Arizona, who were being evicted after living there for about a year. Deputies of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office then discovered more than 150 dogs and cats living in kennels and tents around the area. But the animals appeared well nourished, had shelter, and no sick animals were found at that time. The family had contacted Sky Sanctuary Rescue for help taking in their dogs and cats, and also agreed to voluntarily surrender the animals to the MCSO Animal Safe Haven. MSCO ended up taking 93 dogs and nine cats, while Sky Sanctuary Rescue took 78 animals
Elli Smith, the founder of the Sky Sanctuary Rescue in Phoenix, told TODAY, “I will say the dogs were all very well fed and, within the [family’s] limited resources, very well taken care of,” she said, noting that there were a lot of older dogs, some with minor medical issues and three moms with new-born puppies. “I ended up leaving the first night with 22 dogs...[the family] cared about those dogs…It may not be the same way that we would care for dogs, but they cared about those dogs…“The dogs were mostly well taken care of.” The family ended up being relocated to a better property and they kept five of the dogs. It is not clear why they had so many animals in the first place.