The Phoenix Herpetological Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is a statewide facility that includes a surrender facility, education program, summer camps and rescue and rehabilitation.
In 2001, three people had a vision to make a difference for reptiles in the state of Arizona. There were plenty of organizations to rescue all species of animals from dogs and cats to birds and rabbits. There were no facilities for the intake of reptiles. People who own reptiles as pets had no outlet to relinquish ownership if needed or a place to acquire additional information on care and husbandry. In addition, native species were being destroyed due to lack of education. These three individuals Russ Johnson, Daniel Marchand and Debbie Gibson launched the Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS). The mission was to have a facility to house reptiles until forever homes could be found and to educate people on responsible pet ownership and the importance on conservation and desert safety.
PHS focuses on two specific goals:
Rescue and Rehabilitation
The need for a sanctuary was not only for non-native but native species as well. On average PHS takes in close to 500 animals annually from private pet owners. PHS approached Arizona Game and Fish with a proposal to build a facility for this purpose. Currently PHS is home to over 1,700 animals of which 90% are pet trade type animals. We assist the general public, humane societies, animal welfare leagues, animal control departments, law enforcement and other organizations across the United States. Recently PHS assisted the SPCA on a rescue in Texas where we picked up 572 animals. These animals are being rehabilitated and some are currently up for adoption
Conservation begins with education. Our desert (and our planet) is in serious jeopardy. It is imperative to teach our youth the importance each animal plays in our eco-system. Last year the PHS outreach program touched 109,000 people. These were primarily school-aged children and teenagers.
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