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Arizona Humane Society Sees Cases Soar Of Animals In Distress

boxer being held
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
The Arizona Humane Society has seen many calls Phoenix has hit daily record highs. The group's Emergency Animal Technicians treat about 10,000 animals every year.

As the temperatures have soared in the Valley, so have the number of calls to the Arizona Humane Society. The organization responded to 18 percent more cases of animal neglect and injured animals than the same time last year.

There were a total of 694 cases between June 12 and June 30, said Bretta Nelson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Humane Society.

“And probably the biggest thing to play a role in that is last July, Phoenix passed the anti-tethering ordinance, so now we’re seeing a huge uptick in calls for people seeing pets tethered outside,” she said.

The ordinance makes it a crime to tether an animal in temperatures above 100 degrees, with a leash of less than 10 feet or with a collar that’s too tight. Nelson said the measure has been an important tool for her organization as they deal with potentially neglectful pet owners.

“Now people will be cited, and then they can be fined, and as the citations continue, they might have mandatory jail time,” Nelson said. “So yeah, I think people are taking these much more seriously, and probably calling more of them in, as well.”

Nelson says TV has also helped raise awareness. Her organization’s animal-cruelty investigators and medics were recently featured on a reality TV show, Animal Cops Phoenix. It aired on the cable channel Animal Planet.

The Animal Humane Society’s emergency animal medical technicians respond to calls of animals in distress or sick and injured strays 365 days a year. They can be reached at 602-997-7585, ext. 2073 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.