In the News

Victims of North Carolina Animal Hoarders Find New Life with Arizona Foster Families

For immediate release:

February 17, 2006

Phoenix, Ariz. - After years of suffering in horrific conditions on the property of convicted animal abusers in the small town of Sanford, North Carolina, a van-full of dogs rescued by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in a groundbreaking lawsuit will be arriving this Sunday in Phoenix, where they will be going to the first real homes they have ever known. Seven miniature pinschers, who were among more than 300 dogs seized from animal hoarders Barbara and Robert Woodley,  will be arriving at the home-and rescue headquarters-of Phoenix resident Pat Daigle, where they will meet their new foster families for the first time.

            WHEN:           Sunday, February 19, 2:00 pm

Why are these dogs buckled in for the cross-country journey to the southwest? Last spring, the North Carolina judge presiding over ALDF v. Woodley found the animal “hoarders” (a term used to describe people who keep far more animals than they are able to care for) guilty of multiple counts of animal cruelty and ordered the removal of their hundreds of dogs - many of whom had been living in their own excrement and urine, denied appropriate human contact and care, and kept for their entire lives in dark packing crates. In the landmark victory, custody was awarded to ALDF, which houses the dogs at an ad hoc shelter facility and in the homes of foster families. Because the Woodleys have filed appeals, the dogs cannot yet be adopted out permanently.

When Daigle learned about ALDF’s legal victory-and the ongoing need for foster families for the overwhelming number of  dogs rescued from the Woodleys-she volunteered to become the foster mom to Rufus, a now-spunky miniature pinscher who is thriving with his new family. Word spread that a number of his cohorts were still waiting for homes, and several more Phoenix residents volunteered to take in foster dogs, many of whom have special needs as a result of their years of neglect. Daigle will also be caring for four more “min pins” while they wait for new foster families. They will all meet up with their new dogs this Sunday afternoon, when the van from North Carolina pulls in to town.

“It has truly been an incredible journey for these dogs, long before this week’s cross country road trip,” says ALDF Shelter Director Leighann McCollum, who will be driving the organization’s canine cargo to Arizona. “After a year of working with these dogs day-in and day-out, and watching them slowly learn to trust humans, to play, and to sleep peacefully at night, it is wonderful to see them finally going to the homes they deserve. These animals have suffered enough. We couldn’t be happier to see them retiring in Phoenix.”

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. A number of dogs rescued as a result of ALDF v. Woodley are still in need of homes. For more information, please visit