Mona Saatkamp’s dream was to own a large property and rescue dogs. Now that dream is threatened since her neighborhood was annexed into Gilbert last summer.
On Monday, town code enforcers asked Saatkamp to find homes for about 40 dogs living in her home on a 2-acre property. Since then, a Craig’s List listing and e-mails sent throughout a network of animal rescuers has caused Saatkamp to be bombarded with calls and e-mails of support and offers to adopt pets.
“Everybody is safe,” she said of the dogs.
Saatkamp operates a forprofit canine boarding business, but many of her dogs are rescues that she finds homes for as part of her K9 Friends nonprofit shelter. “I fulfilled the dream. I bought property to take care of animals,” she said. “I love dog rescue. I grew up in a farm in Indiana.”
Code compliance administrator Adam Adams said the town originally got an anonymous complaint about dogs and the smell of feces about the shelter and kennel on May 1. On May 16, the town received a second complaint from Maricopa County Animal Control.
Adams said the property might have been allowed in Gilbert, had it been properly permitted in the county prior to annexation. The town’s policy is to grandfather in the rights of businesses that were legal in the county.
Many business owners on county islands, though, have long operated without proper county permits. At least 12 businesses in town must close, due to their illegal status.
Adams said the town is working with Saatkamp, and will revisit the property in a couple of weeks to ensure efforts are being made to find homes for the dogs.
Saatkamp said town officials have been kind in giving her time to find homes for the pets. Saatkamp plans to investigate the cost of purchasing a kennel on commercial property.
She said she will also continue working with foster homes for pets, and is looking for more foster help for dogs that have no home but are adoptable.
Barb Savoy, public relations director for Gilbert’s Friends for Life shelter, said she knew little of the K9 Friends situation. But, she said, foster families are always needed, especially in the summer when demand to shelter cats and dogs grows dramatically.
“Anytime someone’s trying to help homeless animals and animals get displaced, it’s always a sad situation and not the fault of animals,” she said.
Contact K9 Friends to adopt or foster a pet at (480) 946-5959, or visit www.petfinder.com/shelters/AZ208.html for information and pet photos.