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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue


Starving rescued dogs only had rotting food to eat

Ninety severely malnourished dogs - who were being kept in waste-covered crates stacked as many as three high with only small amounts of moldy, rotting food that forced them to fend off each other to eat - have been rescued from a hoarder in Pennsylvania and the bodies of two others have been recovered.

Some of the Chow Chow and Chow mix-breed dogs are displaying protection aggression toward food because they are so malnourished, according to Megan Gallagher Clark, an official with the Humane League of Lancaster County.

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"Many were scared and hungry, some were aggressive," Ms. Gallagher Clark told Love of Dogs. "However, the bulk were actually fairly friendly dogs. A few dogs are being treated for food aggression, which we believe is related to them being so malnourished. We are working with a Chow rescue group to assist those."

The dogs also are being being treated for mange, skin infections, bite wounds, heartworm and broken limbs, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. "They have medical issues as a result of being dirty and neglected."

Four dogs were so ill, malnourished and injured that they had to be euthanized to end their suffering.

Pennsylvania dog wardens raided the Pendragwn Chow Chow Rescue, a dog kennel in Lancaster owned by Terri Palmer-Roby, after receiving information about substandard conditions from the humane league. The operation had started out as a rescue organization.

Jessie Smith, Pennsylvania's special deputy for dog law, said the kennel was operating without a license. Kennels with more than 26 dogs per year must obtain a license and be inspected annually.

"Unlicensed kennels are difficult to regulate, and in an animal hoarding situation, it is even more difficult," Smith states in a media release. "Animal hoarders are often in denial about their situation and the conditions in which the animals are forced to live."

Animal hoarding is a disorder that causes people to keep large numbers of animals in their home without proper care, Smith said.

The dogs - like Pooh Bear at top left and Tanka (Humane League of Lancaster County photos) - were being kept throughout the house, garage and basement in unsanitary conditions, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. "The bulk of the dogs were crated and a few were running loose. The crates were stacked as many as three high. There was approximately 6 inches of feces and hair on the basement floor, and the dogs had molding and rotting food mixed with feces in their cages."

The results of hoarding situations often resemble those of puppy mills, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. "While people who suffer from hoarding get into having too many animals out of love for the animals, not avarice, the outcomes for the individual animals are not that different."

The Chows were all living in a ranch-style home in filthy conditions, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. "The general conditions of the animals were actually fairly similar to a bad puppy mill in that the problems the dogs faced were due to overcrowding and inadequate medical care."

Some dogs have already been adopted, but others will need more rehabilitation before they can be placed into homes, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. The Humane League of Lancaster will be working with a national Chow group to help place them.

The cost is high for the rescue and rehabilitation effort, Ms. Gallagher Clark said. "This is a significant expense, both medically and in terms of staff time. The overall rescue has required overtime for our staff, veterinary care and expenses, and the materials required to care for the animals while they stayed with us."

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For adoption information and to make donations to help with the costs associated with the rescue and rehabilitation of the dogs, visit www.humaneleague.com.

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