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Wife of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio bitten by rattlesnake

Posted at 12:17 PM, Mar 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-23 15:17:46-04

PHOENIX (KGTV and wire reports) — The wife of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is recovering from a rattlesnake bite.

The Arizona Republic reports that Ava Arpaio was bitten in the couple's Fountain Hills home on Friday morning.

Joe Arpaio told the Republic that she was sitting in her office when the snake bit her. He said she is recovering at a local hospital.

"She's tough," Arpaio told the newspaper. "If she can put up with me for 60 years, then she can handle a snake bite."

"Must've been a Democrat," he joked.

Arpaio served as Sheriff of Maricopa County for 24 years until losing reelection to Democrat Paul Penzone in 2016.

The 86-year-old lawman garnered national attention for his Tent City Jailwhere inmates were housed in Korean War era army tents and strict discipline of prisoners.

Arpaio dismissed heat concerns at his Tent City, saying: "If our servicemen and women serve in the Middle East in extreme hot weather over there, our inmates can deal with the heat here as well in Tent City."

A staunch supporter of Donald Trump, Arpaio insisted that Obama was not a US citizen and that his birth certificate was fraudulent -- a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.