United Animal Nations provides critical sheltering support for massive rescue mission

March 23, 2011 – United Animal Nations (UAN), a California-based nonprofit organization, has deployed volunteers from 11 states and Canada to operate a temporary shelter in Apache County, Arizona for approximately 200 dogs, 50 cats and several chickens, ducks and pigs found living in deplorable conditions on private property in Witch Wells.

UAN volunteers carry a fence panel that will be used to construct a temporary kennel for dogs rescued from a hoarding case in eastern Arizona.

Distinguished by their red shirts, UAN volunteers are specially trained to care for and shelter large numbers of animals after they have been rescued from cruelty and neglect. UAN volunteers provide manpower, free of charge, that enables local animal control and law enforcement agencies to respond to large-scale animal cruelty cases.

“UAN’s volunteer team is recognized nationally for its ability to give neglected and abused animals loving human contact, often for the first time in their lives,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies. “UAN’s free emergency sheltering services support local agencies that otherwise might not be able to respond to such large animal cruelty cases due to lack of resources and staff.”

Eleven UAN volunteers have already traveled from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, Vermont and Ontario, Canada to care for the rescued animals at the temporary shelter. Ten more volunteers will arrive later this week. UAN has more than 3,000 active volunteers in the United States and Canada, including 41 in Arizona, and provides its services free of charge to the community.

UAN was asked to send volunteers to the temporary shelter by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is assisting the Apache County Sheriff’s Department with the handling, transportation and placement of the animals. PetSmart Charities® donated food and other much-needed supplies to the rescue efforts.

When responders arrived on the property they found breeds of dogs ranging from hound mixes to Labrador retriever mixes. A veterinarian on the scene determined that many of the dogs suffered from medical ailments such as skin infections and untreated wounds. The cats were living in a filthy trailer on the 40-acre property. The dogs were being housed in feces-ridden outdoor pens and inside several dilapidated structures.

The rescue was set in motion after the Apache County Sheriff’s Department received tips about allegedly cruel conditions and neglected animals in need of veterinary care. Law enforcement officials in Colorado confirmed that the owner of these animals left that state under duress due to concerns related to the health of the animals in her care.

All of the animals were safely removed and transported to an emergency shelter, where they will be examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care. The HSUS and UAN will care for the animals until they are placed with rescue groups for adoption.

  • Read more about this case and see photos on our Emergency Response Journal.
  • To support UAN’s work to provide temporary sheltering for animals rescued from large-scale cruelty situations or displaced by natural disasters, donate to our Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Learn more about animal hoarding, a psychological condition in which people collect more animals than they can provide proper food, shelter, sanitation and veterinary care for.

MEDIA CONTACT: (916) 429-2457

United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at www.uan.org.



  Return to Press Releases