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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

Beagles rescued from barbaric outdoor shelter

Thirteen Beagles - many with severe infections, some with dental problems and all so frightened from being imprisoned in a barbaric, makeshift outdoor shelter that they "shake when you go near them" - have been rescued from a breeder in Tehama County, California.

One dog has had emergency surgery for a uterus infection, another faces eye surgery, one suffers from heartworm, most need extensive dental work and teeth pulled, and all have ear infections, Sonoma Humane Society official Angie Bonnert told MySetterSam.

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"None of these dogs appear to have ever had veterinary care. ... Most are extremely shy and under socialized and just shake when you go near them," Ms. Bonnert said.

The dogs were forced to live in barbaric conditions, Ms. Bonnert said. "The cages were outside, with a mesh tarp on top of them and housed three dogs per cage, not a lot of space. And the dogs were never let outside on the grass or to run or walk. None of the dogs appear to grasp the concept of a leash."

The pets range in age from 2 to 8 years and some have been used for years as breeder dogs (in photo on left) and others, who were not bought or sold, have grown up in steel cages with little human interaction, according to the humane society.

“I imagine they have never been on a walk or enjoyed romping in the grass before,” Sonoma Humane Society veterinarian Christi Camblor states on the humane society's web site.

The dogs will need specialized training and time to recover from their ordeal before they can be placed with families, Ms. Bonnert said. "But all have the capacity to learn to be dogs again and to form lasting bonds with humans."

The humane society is temporarily placing the dogs in foster homes, Ms. Bonnert said. "The foster parents will be carefully selected and must have time, space and patience to care for these dogs. They require a gentle hand to help them overcome their fears, learn to be housebroken and basically learn to be dogs."

Ms. Bonnert says the best way to put puppy mills - like the one the Beagles were seized from - out of business is for prospective pet parents to avoid buying dogs from them.

"The Internet is how puppy mills operate," she said. "Most people don't realize where they are buying from and the web sites show various warm and fuzzy photos of the dogs, and do not show the barbaric conditions in which they are raised."

"Anyone who is considering buying a dog should visit the breeder and observe the dogs, Ms. Bonnert said. "Many online breeders don't allow access to their puppy farms because conditions are so poor. So if the breeder won't let you visit their facility, then that's a red flag."

Ms. Bonnert encourages people to consider adopting a shelter dog before going to a breeder. "Over 25 percent of them are purebreds, but the mutts are my favorites because they are truly one-of-a-kind," she said. "Shelter animals make the most loving companions and bond more quickly with their adoptive families. Just like foster kids, animals too want to make a good first and lasting impression."

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The cost of rehabilitating the Beagles will be expensive, Ms. Bonnert said. "On average we estimate $500 per dog, but those that have more severe health problems will cost several thousand dollars per dog."

Visit to make donations to help the dogs.

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