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Arizona pet rescue group faces foreclosure -- and an urgent need to re-home its needy animals

October 17, 2009 | 11:15 am

We've heard countless stories of animals suffering as a result of the economic downturn, but the story of an Arizona pet-rescue group racing against time to save the animals in its care while facing foreclosure just might be the most unsettling yet. Guest blogger Janet Kinosian has the scoop on Robin Hood Animal Rescue -- and what like-minded rescuers around the country are doing to help:

Honey Bear So I'm just this hour home from viewing Michael Moore's new film, "Capitalism: A Love Story," and I'm distraught from watching bankers and the monied elite evict hardworking Americans from their homes every 7.5 seconds in this country. I'm certainly in no mood to hear about the foreclosure of an animal rescue in Arizona.

Arizona residents Bob Spangler and partner Shellie Denne run Robin Hood Animal Rescue near Phoenix, Ariz. For the past five years they have struggled to save hundreds of sick, abandoned and abused animals and find them new, loving homes. This rescue apparently takes on the animals many other rescues bypass, like pit bulls and pit mixes, disabled animals and other pets deemed "undesirable" because they may be difficult to place in permanent homes.

Two banks will change all that within the month, as they have set eviction notices for two properties the couple own and where the rescued animals reside. Each of their homes is in foreclosure, with one to evict Oct. 20 and the other on Nov. 5. The rescued animals have nowhere to go.

"We gave our promise to these animals that we'd keep them safe and find them new homes but it looks like that promise is turning into a nightmare," says Spangler, who, along with Denne, lost his job earlier this year.  "We are desperate to find these innocent animals good homes, but time is clearly running out."

The rescue group's story has appeared on local TV news in Arizona several times, and people from Texas to Wisconsin have stepped up to adopt or foster some of the animals, though Denne says the rescue still has approximately six dozen to place. Time is quickly running out.


One lucky dog, Tipper (above), a black Labrador-pit mix, found his way to Green Bay, Wis., where Kurt Peters saw his story on the local news. With dozens of people jumping in to transport him along the way, Tipper left Arizona on Oct. 3 and arrived at his new home on Oct. 13.  He made it out safely, but many others are left in limbo.

"We're working our hardest to protect our animals, but are running out of options," says Denne, who notes the couple are adamantly against having animal control take control of the rescues, since they believe most would be euthanized. "Even inside this personal crisis, we have to think of our animals; they're innocent and depend completely on us."

Robin Hood Animal Rescue's Petfinder listing shows all the group's dogs and cats still in need of new homes.  Anyone interested in helping with the effort to re-home these needy rescues is encouraged to call (623) 931-7499 or contact the group via its website.

-- Janet Kinosian

Janet has written freelance for the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Times Magazine and L.A. Times Syndicate for 18 years.  In addition to reporting, she's also a media consultant who can be reached at JanetKinosian.com.

Top photo: Honey Bear, a pit bull rescued by the Robin Hood group after being found wandering alone near a dog park.  (Honey Bear is available for adoption; learn more about her on her Petfinder page.)

Bottom photo: Tipper was taken by a kind Wisconsin man who saw the dog's story on the news.  Credit: Kurt Peters

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