Sheriff Joe gives neglected dogs new 'leash' on life

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- They were neglected and abused. But now three labradoodle puppies are getting a new 'leash" on life, thanks to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Back in September, MCSO seized eight labradoodles from a house in Buckeye. The animals were so badly neglected, Sheriff's Animal Crimes Detectives didn't think they could survive.

Deputies say the dogs had endured weeks with very little water and even less food. They were also severely infected with tick fever. 

But once in the Sheriff's M.A.S.H unit, and with constant care by female inmates, detention staffers and vets, all but one labradoodle survived.

Now, three of those dogs have been hand-picked by Arizona's Foundation for Service Dog Support (FSDS) to become service dogs.

This is the first time since Sheriff Arpaio opened up the First Avenue Jail in 2000 to house animals seized from abusive and neglectful owners, that some of the animals are going to live lives beyond being adopted members of loving families.

"This is somewhat different," says Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "It's the first time in our history that we have adopted these type of dogs out to service and help the people in this county."

The three labradoodles will be trained by high school students enrolled in a special training course. The training will last two years.The dogs will eventually be able to assist public servants like police, fire, clergy, military veterans and teachers who need either mobility, psychological service or medical alert dogs to help them with their daily lives.

"I am so pleased by this turn of events," says Sheriff Arpaio. "The M.A.S.H. unit is a great program for the well-being man and animal, with inmates learning to care for animals which were once abused. But now for the first time on our history, we have animals going to be service dogs to assist human companions. It's icing on the cake for all of us here at the Sheriff's Office."