March 3, 2011

Massive Rescue of 400 Dogs From Failed Sanctuary

Care2 Animal Welfare news
written by Sharon Seltzer
Wednesday March 2, 2011

It’s not exactly clear what went wrong at an animal sanctuary near Springfield, Ohio, but last week a massive rescue effort was coordinated to save the lives of the dogs that lived there - because of extreme neglect and starvation.

The response teams pulled 349 live dogs and 76 dead dogs from the sanctuary.

One More Chance Rescue and Adoption has been in operation since 1999, but in recent month’s owner Jeff Burgess has become unable to adequately care for the homeless dogs he saved from being euthanized at “kill shelters.”

When local authorities inspected the sanctuary they saw firsthand the deplorable living conditions of the dogs and quickly gathered a team that could safely rescue them. The ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team assisted along with the Clark County Humane Society and individuals from the surrounding area.

The team amazingly removed all of the dogs in just one day.

First they rescued the sickest dogs and transported them to an emergency shelter that had been set up. The dogs were examined by veterinarians from various groups including the Ohio State University.

All of the dogs were housed in crowded and poorly ventilated makeshift dog runs that were built inside barns around the property. They were forced to live in their own waste, alongside rats and other creatures.

Officer Emanuel Maciel, an animal control officer from New Bedford MA was part of the rescue team.

He said in an interview with WPRI News, “It was so dark in there, and the cobwebs (were) all over the place. The dogs’ waste was everywhere – no sunlight streamed in – and the animals were starving.”

“We had one (dog) die just as we were grabbing it,” he said. “One minute, we did a count of the animals and how many cages – the next minute…that dog had died.”

Maciel said the strangest part of the rescue was the fact that there were piles and piles of donated food stacked on the property. Some had been opened and rats were running through them, but many were untouched and never served to the dogs.

After the dogs were seen by the veterinarians a temporary shelter had to be constructed for them. A kind of “tent city” was set up at a fairground site.

A number of the dogs had fur that was badly matted and overgrown and all of the dogs needed to be bathed. A call went out to local groomers and the response was overwhelming as many groomers jumped into action and came to the fairground site to help.

The rescue teams are asking for donations of blankets, paper towels, bleach and dog food. The temporary shelter is going through nearly 240 pounds of dog food each day.

The Clark County Humane Society is handling donations and said they are using everything that is coming in. They hope all of the dogs will soon be well enough to be adopted into new homes.

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