Animal sanctuary hit by racist graffiti

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS5) (Source: 3TV/CBS5)

The latest spot to be hit with swastika graffiti is an animal sanctuary in the Arizona desert.

Staffers at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, northeast of Scottsdale, found a swastika spray-painted in their driveway on Sunday, along with other markings on signs and fences.

"The swastika was the scariest part," director Linda Searles said.

Many of the signs were spray-painted with the letters "DXE."

"I'd never heard of DXE.  It's an animal rights group.  I didn't know if we were targeted by them, or if someone else has a grudge against us and is using them as a front," Searles said.

Tuesday, a representative for the organization Direct Action Everywhere, which uses the letters "DXE," says someone else is using their name.

"This is in no way linked to anyone we know, and it goes against our values," he said.

If another animal activist is behind the vandalism, Searles things they must misunderstand the center's mission.

They take in injured or abandoned wildlife, rehab most of them, and return them to the wild, if possible.

While our crew was there, a badger came in, with a broken leg from being hit by a car.

Paint covers solar panels, lights, and fences, in addition to the center's signs.

They're still getting repair estimates, but the director expects to spend over $2,000 to clean things up.

It's money she would rather spend rehabilitating wildlife.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office gathered evidence and assigned a detective to the case.

Southwest Wildlife is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Jared DillinghamJared anchors the News at 8 on 3TV, and reports for both 3TV and CBS5.

Click to learn more about Jared.

Jared Dillingham

Over his decade in Phoenix, Jared has reported for all shifts, and anchored both mornings and weekends.

Since moving to Arizona in 2008, Jared has covered everything from Senator John McCain's campaign for president, to the Jodi Arias trial, to the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Jared grew up in New York, and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.

After internships at News12 Long Island and NBC in Washington, DC, Jared moved to beautiful "Big Sky Country." He spent a year at KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, before moving to KREM in Spokane, Washington.

The Valley has truly become "home" for Jared. He lives in Phoenix, and spends his mornings listening to as many news/political podcasts as possible, while walking his (now elderly) rescue dogs, Gabby and Bree.

On his days off, Jared can be found hiking Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain.

He also travels as much as possible and runs a blog with advice on visiting cities around the world.

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