March 5th, 2014
“This is their last night there.”
These were the words of Emergency Services Manager, Beth Gammie, the night before over 180 animals were seized from a suspected puppy mill in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Last week, RedRover assisted the Humane Society of the United States and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office along with various other volunteer groups in the rescue and care of the 121 dogs, 11 exotic birds, 19 chickens, 20 horses and multiple cats, rabbits and turtles that were removed from the Jefferson County property.
A group of RedRover Responders volunteers arrived the day prior to the seizure, setting up the temporary shelter and making sure everything was in place for the arrival of the animals the following day. Volunteers assembled crates and bird cages, arranged the space according to disease protocols and unpacked hundreds of boxes of food and equipment to prepare for the incoming animals that needed their help.
“This is their last night there.” The sentence echoed in the minds of the volunteers, reminding everyone how much improved life would be for these animals. This would be their last night in the cold, without regular food or clean water. No longer would they sit and wait for someone to approach, feed or care for their ailments. They wouldn’t have to wonder how long they would be hungry, how they could shelter themselves from the cold or when they would experience human affection. They would soon enjoy a clean, warm enclosure where they would receive vet care, daily attention and love.
The next morning, while some volunteers stayed back at the facility making sure everything was ready for the mass arrival, three volunteers accompanied the Humane Society Animal Rescue Team to the seizure site to help with operations. They assisted on-site by logging animals as they were placed on the transport rig, taking photographs on-site and transporting rescued animals from their enclosures to the transport rig. After the all-day operation and removing multiple species from the property, RedRover Responders volunteers raced back to the temporary emergency shelter and helped unload all the animals into their new temporary digs.
On that first night, animals were gently tucked away in their new, clean, temporary home. The next day, a routine began to fall into place, where volunteers fed, cleaned and provided the new guests with clean water and bedding to make them feel comfortable. After the daily chores and over the next 10 days, RedRover Responders and other volunteers will provide the previously deprived animals with enrichment in all forms. Dogs will receive toys, walks and socialization from their caretakers. Birds, including parrots and chickens, will be mentally and physically stimulated with toys and other interactive items in their environment. Bunnies and cats will get a chance to express their natural instincts and socialize with volunteers. The turtles, formerly living in water in a small rabbit cage, will explore their new large aquarium filled with rocks, clean water and special food.
While puppy mills continue to exist and place animals in neglectful conditions, RedRover will continue to answer the call of crisis. We will continue to help those in need, to ensure more animals have less nights spent in cold, hunger and deprivation. While RedRover is supported by donors and volunteers like you, we’ll strive to end those days spent in neglect and bring animals one day closer to receiving the love and care that they deserve.