December 13th, 2008
Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager (pictured at top)
Yesterday was an incredible day. HSUS and HSI seized 93 dogs and 2 cats from the puppy mill. They made it back to the emergency shelter quickly despite around 12 centimeters of snow dumping on us.
We quickly got a plan together and UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers and others starting unloading the dogs. It seemed like they just kept coming and coming. The transport truck was huge, but the number of dogs coming out of it still seemed extraordinary. The smell coming from the dogs and permeating our clothes was breathtaking, and not in a good way. I can’t even imagine what the actual location smelled like. Some of the dogs were so matted they needed immediate grooming to relieve respiratory difficulties. In some cases, their front paws were matted to their chins so they were unable to stand or walk. I have never seen anything like it. Luckily we had two vets and a groomer on site to help these critical cases.
The investigations documentation and exams were completed in about six hours. It was like a military operation, everyone doing something and always moving. It was hectic and busy, but great to know these poor animals were finally, thankfully, out of the place that caused them to be in such bad condition. Each animal who came to the exam table seemed to be worse off than the one before … and it seemed never-ending. It was so gratifying to give them at least a little bit of comfort, such as trimming claws that had grown back up into their paws or cutting away the mats around their eyes so they could see.
Many of the dogs are deformed in small ways. Funny nose, bent leg, other small things that actually can add to their charm, knowing they can still thrive and have a wonderful temperament. For the most part, we are still unable to determine their actual health condition due to the massive amounts of matting. Groomers are hard at work today getting the fur off the dogs so the vets can do a full examination. There are many eye infections, ear infections, grossly overgrown nails. I went in this morning with scissors to cut off some of the larger mats that were MAKING ME CRAZY.
The dogs were so good, so trusting and cooperative. Some people say that animals know we are trying to help them in times like this. I now wholeheartedly believe that. For these dogs to have such limited human contact, be kept in such horrid conditions, yet still be happy to see any of us, approaching the front of the cage and trying to jump into our arms, inspires me. What troopers these dogs are. Amazing.
There are a few we have determined are pregnant, many others who are on pregnancy watch and many, many more who have recently had pups. Only seven puppies were actually taken from the site. I assume most went out to pet shops in time for Christmas shopping.
I dreamed about dogs, dogs everywhere all night last night. Kind of feel like I didn’t sleep. I’m happy to be back at the shelter and to see how excited the dogs are with fresh water and a clean cage. They have adjusted incredibly well, which just goes to show how impressive these creatures are. Many of them want to play and snuggle. Some are doing the kennel crazy dance and we can’t wait to get clearance to get them out for some exercise.
Back to work to help groom dogs, clean cages, feed, water, snuggle or comfort the kids. More soon…
(Photos on this post are courtesy of HSUS)