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The Ruff Report: Dog rescue

Dogs seized from Indiana breeder

An Indiana woman's dog-breeding business has been shut down and 55 dogs - many suffering from medical ailments - have been removed by humane societies from her property.

The dogs, as well as four horses, that were taken from Tammy Gilchrist of Cloverdale will be assesses by veterinarians, given medical treatment and prepared for adoption, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced in a media release. Many of the dogs were emaciated and had open sores and skin conditions.

"The future of these animals is a lot brighter," said Anne Sterling, Indiana state director of the Humane Society of the United States. "It is extremely gratifying to know that we have given these animals the chance to live outside the confines of their squalid cages."

The animals have been temporarily placed with humane organizations in Indiana including the Humane Society Calumet Area in Munster. Visit for adoption information.
(December 27, 2008)

Dogs rescued from Alabama puppy mill

The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is caring for 50 dogs taken from a breeder in Alabama that were found to be neglected and in need of medical attention.

Most of the dogs are small breeds such as Pekingese, Shih-tzu and poodles, the humane society states in a media release.

"Most of these dogs are highly adoptable, but because they have been so mistreated and neglected, it may take time for us to get them to healthy weights and prepared mentally to become someone’s pet," Jacque Meyer, executive director of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, states in the media release. "We are going to give all of them the opportunity to live the happy, loving life that they have never received."

Visit for more information about adopting the dogs.
(December 20, 2008)

Ontario implements stricter cruelty law

People who abuse animals in Ontario now face stiffer penalties, including two-year jail terms, fines of up to $60,000 and lifetime bans on pet ownership.

The new law also allows humane societies to apply for custody of an animal victim while the case is still before the courts, The Observer reports. Previously, an animal could only be removed if an agent witnessed abuse as it was happening.

Humane societies are lauding the new law, which also bans animal fighting.

"It's fantastic news for us," Tami Holmes, manager of The Sarnia and District Humane Society, told the newspaper. "It's going to make it easier for us to do our investigations. In the past, we had to prove that distress was being caused willfully. Now we just have to prove that it's happening."

More than 300 cases are expected to be checked out this year by The Sarnia and District Humane Society, Holmes said.

Hugh Coghill, chief inspector for the Ontario SPCA, said, investigators respond to about 15,000 allegations of cruelty every year in the province. "This new legislation will allow us to be proactive and provide more education to animal owners rather than simply (being) reactive to cruelty reports," he said.
(December 6, 2008)

Stricter breeder oversight proposed

Federal lawmakers are considering a proposal that would subject more breeders to USDA licensing and require dogs to have more exercise.

The Puppy Uniform Protection Statute, which has been introduced in the House and Senate, would require breeders who sell more than 50 dogs per year to the public to be inspected and licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under current law, breeders who have more than three females and sell at wholesale to pet stores and research facilities must be licensed and inspected.

Under the proposal, dogs 12 weeks or older must have a minimum of two daily exercise periods totaling at least one hour and must be removed from their primary enclosure for the exercise.

"Our bill simply requires that breeders obtain a license from the USDA if they raise more than 50 dogs in a 12-month period and sell directly to the public and sets forth reasonable standards of care for commercial breeders," said Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat. "Responsible dog breeders are not the target of this legislation, but hopefully it will put the puppy mills out of business."

Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, praised the proposal. "Dogs are not livestock, and they shouldn't be treated like a cash crop," he stated in a media release. "We are grateful to federal lawmakers for introducing this legislation to curb the worst abuses in the puppy mill industry. It's a much-needed upgrade to our nation's laws that protect man’s best friend from cruelty and harm."

The American Kennel Club, which had no involvement in the drafting of the legislation, states on its web site that it has concerns about the proposal's potential impact on responsible breeders. "We look forward to working with federal legislators to contribute language which ensures the health and welfare of our canine companions without infringing upon the rights of responsible dog breeders and responsible dog owners." the AKC statement reads.

AKC says breeders should be judged on the quality of care provided to the animals rather than the number of dogs they sell or own. "We encourage Congress to direct USDA to draft performance-based regulations which ensure dogs are provided with proper care and humane treatment including an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, exercise and socialization opportunities, and kind and responsive human companionship," the AKC statement reads.
(November 22, 2008)

A plea for help from hurricane-ravished Jamaica

An animal welfare organization in Jamaica is appealing for help as it continues to try to deal with the after-effects that Hurricane Gustav has inflicted on pets."

After surviving our fifth hurricane in only four years (Gustav in August), we are seriously in need of help for ... the island's forgotten animals, and we are trying to get the word out so that the assistance we need can be found," Maureen Sheridan, an official of The Animal House in Jamaica, stated in an e-mail to Love of Dogs.

The Caribbean island took a direct hit from Gustav, leaving pets in many cases to have to fend for themselves.The Animal Shelter, a nonprofit, non-government organization that operates a shelter in Lydford, St. Ann (just outside of Ocho Rios, was founded in the 1990s because of serious concerns about the plight of animals on the north coast of the island.

The facility is always filled to capacity, and the storms have caused even greater stress on pets and their caregivers, Sheridan states.

"We have 150 animals in house at any given time, a number which is always swollen after big storms," she states. "We also care for several feral cat colonies and stray dogs that because of cruel abuse are too timid to be caught."

The Animal House has had good success in finding homes for many of the pets, including some in the United States, but the task of placing all of them is daunting, according to Sheridan. "We fill spaces with new arrivals as soon as adopted animals leave," she states.

The shelter also has another obstacle - attracting volunteers, Sheridan wrote. "Jamaican society is not one in which volunteering is encouraged," she explains. "We have been fortunate enough to have volunteers come from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. That has been a major blessing. ... Believe it or not we do not have one local volunteer."

Sheridan encourages people to consider taking a trip to the island and serving some time volunteering to help the needy pets.

The Animal House is also in need of donations and supplies of all kinds, Sheridan states. "We have had a really hard time given that we have gone through five hurricanes in only four years. All help is greatly appreciated. Our animals are so worth it," she states.

Visit or send an e-mail to for information about making monetary donations or sending supplies. (November 8, 2008)

Animals removed from squalid Indiana property

Sixty-seven animals living in what is being described as squalid conditions have been removed from a 20-acre property in Indiana.

The property owner voluntarily agreed to surrender the animals - 52 dogs, 10 horses, four cats and one goat, according to a Humane Society of the United States media release.

Authorities entered the property near Fairbanks after receiving reports that animals were in poor health, underfed and living in squalid conditions. Many of the dogs were emaciated and suffered from open sores and skin conditions, the HSUS stated.

"It is extremely gratifying to know that we have given these animals the opportunity to experience the joys of life outside the confines of their squalid cages," said Anne Sterling, Indiana state director for HSUS.

Indiana State Police, the Humane Society of Missouri, Indiana Animal Care and Control and the USDA Office of the Inspector General helped with the operation.

The animals were taken to the Sullivan County 4H Fairgrounds, where an emergency shelter has been set up, and assessed by veterinarians and given medical attention. They will be taken to humane organizations and made available for adoption.
(October 18, 2008)

Displaced Texas hurricane dogs still need help

Nearly a month later, dogs and humane societies from Texas to Indiana are still feeling the effects of Ike.

The storm, which pounded Texas with hurricane winds and coastal storm surge and brought flooding rains to the upper Midwest, has kept animal shelters busy trying to accommodate displaced dogs.

The Dane County Humane Society of Wisconsin - even though it has run a $300,000 deficit in the last two years - has taken in six puppies and 13 dogs from a Houston-area shelter no longer able to provide care because of lack of space, WISC-TV of Madison reports.

The pooches made a 25-hour trip from Texas to Wisconsin in a horse trailer. The animals are getting vaccinated and spayed or neutered and should be available for adoption.

In northwest Indiana, humane societies are finding shelter for pets displaced by flooding, the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reports. Several residents displaced by flooding who had brought their pets to a shelter at the Boys and Girls Club in Lake Station were told their pets would have to stay in makeshift cages outside.

But Betty Clayton, director of the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana in nearby Gary, came to the rescue. Lake Station has no humane society, so Clayton offered help. Clayton and a Lake Station animal control officer transferred 10 dogs, four cats, birds and various small animals to the shelter in Gary.

The Southeast Texas Humane Society has been busy reuniting dogs with their owners, the Beaumont Enterprise reports. More than 400 animals were rescued from Orange and Jefferson counties in the days following Ike's landfall and about 200 have been reunited with their owners.

"We all get a little emotional," said Janell Matthies, lead volunteer with United Animal Nations, which is assisting the Southeast Texas Humane Society with pet recovery and care. "We get attached to these pets, and while we are thrilled when they go home, we are sad to see them leave."

Lou Guyton, director of the southwest regional office of The Humane Society of the United States, told the newspaper that many of the unclaimed animals would get a fresh start - some even in a new state.

"At least 85 dogs and a number of cats from the Beaumont shelter are going to Tampa, Fla.," Guyton said. "Tampa has an exceptionally good adoption rate."
(October 4, 2008)

Online database created for hurricane pets

An online database has been created to help reunite owners with pets lost during Hurricane Ike.

The Disaster Response Pet Portal - established by the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Pethealth Inc. and Pets911 - can be accessed at or at, the Galveston County News reports.

Owners who recognize a lost pet on the Web site can call a hot line at 713-435-2990, and their information will be attached to the animal at the shelter, expediting reunification. (September 27, 2008)

Pets displaced by Texas hurricane get help

The Humane Society of Southeast Texas in Beaumont is getting at 16 tons of supplies from PetSmart Charities to help animals displaced by Hurricane Ike.

The supplies include pet food, crates, beds, bowls, litter and litter pans, and other necessary animal-care items, according to PetSmart Charity's Web site. Supplies for volunteers caring for the displaced pets include a generator, fans, tents, a battery charger and lights.

PetSmart Charities established its emergency relief program in 2007 to provide assistance following disasters. Recently, it sent supplies to Louisiana to help pets displaced by Hurricane Gustav.

To make a donation to the PetSmart Charities relief program, visit or call 1-800-423-PETS. (September 20, 2008)

Houston SPCA busy following hurricane

In the days following Hurricane Ike, the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been busy helping needy pets.

Houston SPCA volunteers have set up a foster home program, a telephone hot line and have taken in displaced pets, according to the organization's Web site.On the day following the hurricane, the Houston SPCA recovered 77 dogs, 65 cats, one rabbit, some parakeets and a pelican along with other wildlife from the damaged Galveston County Animal Shelter in Texas City.

The Houston SPCA has also established a hot line to field lost and found reports, rescue reports and to offer animal-related information. The number is 713-435-2990 and the phone is staffed from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Messages left after hours are returned the next morning.

A foster home program also has been set up. Families are being asked to foster a Galveston pet for 10 days. If the displaced animal is not reclaimed by its original owner after 10 days, the foster parent has the option to adopt the animal or return it to the shelter for placement.For more information about the foster home program or to make a donation to the Houston SPCA, visit or call 713-869-7722. (September 20, 2008)

Pets sheltered during Louisiana hurricane

Unlike during Katrina, owners with pets got special attention as they left the Gulf Coast to get away from Hurricane Gustav.

About 160 climate-controlled vehicles operated around the clock in New Orleans to whisk pets and their owners inland and out of the hurricane's path, and at least a half dozen shelters throughout the Louisiana quickly filled with pets of all shapes and sizes, National Geographic News reports."

This is the first time in history that pets have been a priority in an evacuation," said Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, based in New Orleans.

Now that the danger from Gustav has passed, pets from New Orleans will be sent from a huge shelter at the Shreveport, Louisiana, fairgrounds back into the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals facility, where the animals will be housed until owners retrieve them.

During Hurricane Katrina three years ago, many owners refused to leave their Gulf Coast homes because they were unable to take their pets to shelters while owners who did leave were forced to leave their pets behind.

"Part of our mission is to rescue pets that are left behind," said Amy Maher of Noah's Wish, which operates a pet-friendly Red Cross shelter in Covington, La. But if you don't have to leave them behind, that makes everyone a lot safer, healthier and happier." (September 6, 2008)

100 rescued W. Va. dogs taken to Washington

The Washington Animal Rescue League has taken in more than 100 of the 1,000 dogs recently removed from a kennel in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

"It will take all of the league’s resources to evaluate the dogs’ health, treat any conditions they might have and find them homes," Gary Weitzman, the league’s director, said in a statement on the organizations' Web site. "It is a big task."

The dogs are mostly dachsunds, but also include Yorkshire terriers, King Charles Cavalier spaniels, shih tzus and Lhasa apsos.

The dogs, confiscated at Whispering Oaks Kennel on Aug. 23, were reportedly living in squalid conditions.

The Humane Society of Parkersburg removed the dogs with the help of the Humane Society of the United States, United Animal Nations, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Missouri.

The dogs were taken to a temporary warehouse and are being placed with humane societies across the country.

No charges were filed against Sharon Roberts, 72, who had owned and operated the kennel since 1961, because she agreed to give up the dogs and get out of the breeding business. (September 6, 2008)

Dogs rescued from West Virginia kennel

Nearly 1,000 dogs living in squalid conditions have been seized at a kennel in West Virginia by humane society officials.

The dogs, confiscated at Whispering Oaks Kennel in Parkersburg, were taken to a temporary warehouse and will go to humane societies across the country, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

No charges were filed against Sharon Roberts, 72, who had owned and operated the kennel since 1961, because she agreed to give up the dogs and get out of the breeding business.The Humane Society of Parkersburg removed the dogs with the help of The Humane Society of the United States, United Animal Nations, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Missouri.

The dogs were kept in wire mesh enclosures, most about 3 feet by 3 feet, resembling rabbit hutches, Carrie Roe, the Humane Society of Parkersburg's board president, told the The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register of West Virginia. She told the newspaper that dogs who have lived their lives on wire mesh often have difficulty learning to deal with other surfaces.

Finding homes for the dogs will take time because the dogs have to be acclimated to people, Roe said. "These dogs have had very little human attention, they fight for it. Dogs from puppy mills typically don't do well with other dogs. These dogs have never been on a leash," she said.

Hills Science Diet has donated dry and wet food for the dogs; PetSmart Charities has donated supplies; and the South Parkersburg's Wal-Mart donated tarps, hand sanitizer, 100 cages and crates, pallets of water and Gatorade, puppy formula, office supplies and cleaning supplies.

U.S. Humane Society officials say the dogs will be sterilized and then be placed in permanent homes. (August 30, 2008)

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