March 9th, 2010
Submitted by EARS volunteer Marcia Goodman of Cromwell, Connecticut
Greetings from De Kalb, Mississippi, where a team of EARS volunteers is working side-by-side with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Mississippi Animal Rescue League and the Kemper County Sheriff’s Department to care for more than 100 dogs and 2 cats seized from an alleged cruelty situation at a temporary emergency shelter.
The animals were rescued from Raven’s Hope Animal Sanctuary, which claimed to take in needy animals and adopt them out, but the sheriff’s department had received numerous complaints of suspected neglect there.
When we began setting up the shelter yesterday, we didn’t know much about what to expect. The sheriff’s staff estimated seeing between 80 and 100 medium- to large-size dogs in pens on the property, plus they believed an unknown number of smaller dogs were inside the house.
We also don’t know about the health of the animals since they’ve only been seen from a car and not from close inspection. It’s clear that some are missing hair and have some untreated skin condition, but until the veterinarian examines the dogs, we won’t know if any contagious diseases are involved.
Yesterday we built pens in the building designated as the shelter in preparation for arrival of the dogs today. The goal is to have most of the dogs indoors both for security and for protection from the rain that is expected.
Members of the EARS team have traveled here from our homes in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia and Connecticut. More volunteers are expected to arrive tomorrow. Some of us already knew each other from earlier UAN deployments. Others began getting to know each other by sharing our prior emergency shelter experiences as we were erecting the pens. Two of us came prepared with tools and supplies that were invaluable in erecting the pens; others of us took notes on tools and supplies to bring to our next deployment. It was a good day.
In one way, though, it was a difficult day for all of us. In a sad irony, the building that is serving as the temporary shelter was a meat packing plant that has shut down. It’s very difficult for us who volunteer in animal welfare to walk amidst equipment and tools that were used to slaughter animals. We are taking heart in the fact that property that was once used so cruelly to take life will now be used to sustain life.
Later I’ll report on the arrival of the dogs. This is why we’re all here, and we’re filled with anticipation.
Read more about this situation in the UAN press release.