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In Arizona, a sanctuary for unwanted animals

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As part of its continuing “Making a Difference” series, NBC Nightly News recently featured the Circle L Ranch — an Arizona sanctuary for dogs, cats, horses and other farm animals that, though we’ve yet to pay it a visit, I have a hunch we someday will.

That’s because the woman behind it, Phoenix physician Deborah Wilson, happens to be married to one of my many former bosses — a member, in fact, of that extremely small and highly exclusive group, “Bosses I liked.”

Dr. Wilson, who’s the wife of Steve Wilson, communications director for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, says the Circle L, like most sanctuaries and shelters, has seen unprecedented numbers of animals coming in due to the faltering economy, foreclosures and layoffs. “It’s just one sad, heartbreaking story after another,” she told NBC’s Maria Menounos.

The Circle L Ranch, on 37 acres in the Prescott Valley, was established as a sanctuary in 2006 and is now home to 70 horses and an assortment of cows, goats, sheep, not to mention cats and dogs.

Dr. Wilson, its founder, is an animal rights advocate who has been active in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and PETA. She’s on the Board of Directors of Audubon Arizona and Liberty Wildlife.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time May 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm

What a beautiful story–and what a beautiful spirit Dr. Wilson has! I especially loved seeing all the old dogs, each one comfortable and cozy on a pillow or cushion. Old dogs have such a lot to teach us with their wisdom and serenity. It’s good to value them.

Comment from Mindy
Time May 20, 2009 at 1:00 am

how can you claim to run a rescue and refuse to adopt out any of the featured animals because they are your personal pets? Especially when there are over 70 animals on her personal property that collects non profit funding.

Comment from Jayson
Time February 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Hello ,
To whom it may concern I am contacting you, at the library, in hopes you can help, My mother and while waiting for the Bus, found a red-nose bit bull puppy,, this dog had no dog tags,,, and we have no idea as to who her owners were. We have extended as much time as we can,, but find the daily needs of this puppy are more then either my 62 year old mother nor I can, as I am looking for work, and she is working for our landlord to have a place to live. This is not a solid home for the dog,, the dog is female. Is there anyway,, you can contact me concerning this matter. As we can’t take care of her… and don’t want the Illegal Dog rings get ahold of her.. please I need help…