February 3rd, 2011
Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois
EARS volunteer Tracy Clark
from Cookeville, TN
|EARS volunteer Angel Zebraski
from Hampton, GA
The dogs are primarily small breeds: poodles, Chihuahuas, maltese, shih tzus, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and various mixes, as well as two golden retrievers and a Great Pyrenees mountain dog. They were housed in assorted buildings on a rural property with the breeding dogs in a large barn-like facility with no heat and little natural sunlight. As is typical in puppy mill situations, the animals are in horrific condition, many so filthy and matted you can’t see their eyes, ears, mouth or feet. The mats are so thick and out of control they appeared to be limbs. Many have severe eye ailments, some have missing eyes, and a great number have little or no teeth. The dogs will soon be thoroughly checked by a veterinarian to determine any other injuries and ailments.
The process of getting the dogs to the HSUS vehicle was quite convoluted, as the buildings they were housed in sat a good distance from the road, up a very steep, narrow and winding dirt road, which had turned quite muddy from the previous days’ torrential downpour. Needless to say, it was impossible to get the HSUS transport vehicle up this road, so as each dog was removed from its cage, it was passed to a UAN handler, who took it to the intake station for numbering and a quick health check, then placed it in a cage on a small local Animal Control truck, driven down the hill to be removed by another handler and placed into a cage on the transport vehicle. Once the transport vehicle got to the temporary shelter, each dog was moved once more into its temporary home where it will remain until it is sent to an adoption shelter.
Most of the dogs were surprisingly comfortable being handled; in fact, it almost seemed like they knew what was happening and were patiently waiting their turn. Two dogs who were loose on the property even tried to climb into the back of the Animal Control vehicle on their own.
We are all already finding our favorites. One dog touched us all deeply, a poodle mix that was so matted you weren’t sure which end you were looking at. He was so scared, yet he kept coming to the edge of the cage just to get touched; we really couldn’t tell whether we were touching him or the matted twines of his hair. The Cavalier King Charles spaniels are already stealing everyone’s hearts with their sweet temperaments, and the tiny Chihuahuas are quickly showing some huge personalities. And of course, our three large dogs have got us all doing their bidding.
We are looking forward to getting to know all of our little charges over the next few days.