The MASH Story

The MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit was created in 2000 to provide support to the MCSO Animal Crimes Investigation (ACI) Unit and care for the abused and neglected animals seized in their investigations.

MASH operates primarily as live evidence holding for animal abuse and cruelty cases, but doubles as a no-kill facility for victimized animals seized as evidence in animal crimes.

In addition to providing a “Safe Haven” to the animals, MASH provides inmates an opportunity to improve responsibility and nurturing skills, gain vocational skills in the pet industry and help train and address the inmates’ needs in areas of personal growth, parenting, cognitive restructuring, behavior modification, job readiness and community linkages.

Only sentenced female inmates care for these rescued dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals. Inmates are rigorously screened before they can work at MASH. Detention Officers and Animal Care Technicians review each inmate’s background to ensure she has never been arrested for violent behavior or any crimes against animals. Following that, each inmate is interviewed by MASH staff to attain work history, interest, and knowledge.

MASH recently began a new program called the Human Animal Interaction Program. Once a dog is deemed healthy and social, in great part due to the efforts and training by the female inmates, Detention Officers take the animals to Maricopa County jail facilities to interact with other inmates.

Program participants have observed a comforting effect for many inmates who react to these animal visits with compassion and ease. A special interest is given to our Veteran population, many of whom have experienced various levels of trauma.

The team of officers and animal care technicians who run the MASH unit and its programs take special pride in this effort. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office remains the only law enforcement agency which rescues, houses, nurtures emotionally and physically each animal back to health, and then adopts them out to responsible owners. Together, they all feel that MASH not only aids in the well-being of the animals, but the inmate as well.

Since MASH opened its doors in 2000, thousands of rescued animals have been adopted and hundreds of inmates have been trained.

To see current domestic animals which are available for adoption, visit us on Facebook at “MCSO MASH Unit”

For Horses and livestock

The MASH and Animal Cruelty Investigation units welcome public and corporate donations to continue this noble effort.

Donations can be made by visiting our donation website

Or by mailing a tax deductible check payable to “MCSO MASH Unit” to: 201 South Fourth Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85003