PHOENIX -- Dogs housed in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's MASH Unit can enjoy the facility's rooftop park all summer long thanks to a Valley air conditioning company.
Goettl donated an evaporative cooler to the First Avenue Jail, which was built in 1962 and converted into a no-kill shelter for abused and neglected animals in 1998.
The recently installed evaporative cooler was cranked up to full power Wednesday, which was the hottest day of 2014 with a high of 114 degrees.
Arpaio said about 40 dogs are housed in the MASH Unit, including Mickey the pit bull. A Phoenix Municipal Court judge ruled that Mickey be housed in the unit after mauling a 4-year-old boy earlier this year.
While Mickey is serving a life sentence, most of the dogs are in the sheriff's custody because their owners are facing animal abuse charges.
"These dogs are victims. They've been abused. So, why not get some good air conditioning so they can go out here, exercise and enjoy themselves?" Arpaio said Wednesday. "It's very important to get out of the cell once in a while. It's not their fault they're in a cell."
Goettl owner Ken Goodrich, CEO Dan Burke and company board member Randy Pullen were behind the donation.
"I'd been up here before, and they told me that during the summertime it was too hot up here to actually bring the dogs out and let them exercise and play," Pullen said. "So, being on the Goettl board, I knew that they were looking for a great charity operation to support and, to me, this made perfect sense."
Because of the building's narrow hallways, the five-ton unit was lifted onto the roof with a crane last week.
"We certainly appreciate the donation, though it wasn't easy getting this unit up here," Arpaio said in a statement. "But we do whatever we can to make life a little better for these dogs that were at one time treated so badly by their owners."