ASPCA Rescues Over 300 Animals!
Was it an animal shelter, or a puppy mill, or perhaps a little of both?
Whatever the case, the Thyme and Sage Ranch in Wisconsin is no more after 300 dogs were seized and owner and founder Jennifer Petkus was charged with 11 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. The story sounds a little similar to the one we told you about earlier this week – Pendragwn Chow Rescue in Pennsylvlania.
In the Wisconsin case, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant Tuesday at the ranch, seizing the first 100 dogs, eight horses and a goat. At least six dog carcasses were discovered and a ram needed to be euthanized, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
According to a criminal complaint, Dr. Lisa Kerwin-Lucchi, a veterinarian with the Dane County Humane Society, used a hidden camera and temperature probe to record conditions at Thyme and Sage Ranch in rural Cazenovia in March, documenting dogs without access to food and unfrozen water, dogs with severely matted fur and inadequate bedding for unheated buildings.
Petkus was charged with one count of improper shelter to animals and 10 counts of intentionally mistreating animals — all misdemeanors. In addition, she faces five counts of unlawful deposit of animals carcasses.
Court records also show that Thyme and Sage, which has a contract with Richland County to serve as a shelter for lost and found animals, had already transferred 68 dogs and 10 cats to the Dane County Humane Society between Feb. 1 and March 27.
Kerwin-Lucchi started collecting the criminal evidence as early as February to obtain a search warrant and file charges “to make sure (Petkus) can’t do this again.”
She said she’s not sure what led to the conditions of her shelter because Many of the seized dogs look to be “retired breeders from puppy mills,” and the fact that she was adopting out large number of young puppies raised the suspicion she may also have been breeding, Kerwin-Lucchi said.
On Tuesday morning, May 19, the ASPCA was on hand in Cazenovia, WI, to assist in the raid of an animal sanctuary, the Thyme and Sage Ranch. The ASPCA Forensic Cruelty Investigation and Disaster Response teams, as well as our Mobile Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, are currently working alongside the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to collect evidence and evaluate the animals found at the site.
If Mom or Grandma has been considering getting a dog or cat, Mother’s Day is a perfect time –not to surprise her — but take her to several shelters and see what’s out there. Use Petfinder to screen for the best candidates. That way she’ll get exactly what she was looking for and the pet has a good chance of staying put rather than being returned.
If Mom is in love with a particular breed, check Petfinder in case one is available through a shelter.
Here’s the top 10 reasons to consider adopting a homeless or shelter pet:
1. You save many lives. Not only do you save the life of the animal you adopt, you will get an animal that is spayed or neutered, which means no unwanted litters to end up at an animal control facility.
2. You won’t be supporting puppy mills. Puppy factory farms will have one less customer to feed their reprehensible business. They produce pets with expensive health issues, physical and mental, and look at pets as “products”. Female dogs are forced into a constant state of pregnancy for the duration of their lives, not cared for or let out of their cages. When you buy from a pet shop, it supports this industry.
3. You get the best deal ever. Shelter animals are fully vaccinated, spay/neutered, and more often than not, micro-chipped, and heartworm tested.
4. You become an active participant in preventing cruelty to animals. The Oprah show on puppy mills made it very clear to all that, even if unwittingly, pet shops selling pets get their animals from puppy mills. You can dismantle this practice by making different choices.
5. Shelters are not the scary places they used to be! Many provide added services. The progress that has been made over the past decade in sheltering practices means that many shelters offer their “temporary residents” basic training, so they are at least familiar with the concept of being on leash, and the concept of “sit” and “walk” Some shelters are set up so that daycare, kenneling, and grooming are available.
6. Shelters, good ones, always want their animals returned to them if there’s a problem–not to some other facility, or to another family. You won’t get any guarantees like that from a pet shop.
7. Shelters will know the dog or cat, their personalities, some of their querks and a lot of their personality. New puppies are so cute, cuddly, but they have a lot of needs. They require that someone be home all day to care for them, potty train them, feed them often and teach themeverything. If you are getting a puppy and will leave him or her in a cage more than an hour please don’t get a puppy. It is not at all advisable to cage a puppy all day long. That kind of life would be a cruelty to the dog and to you. You would not be happy with a puppy that went wild every time you let him or her out.
8. Shelters are part of the community and work to save lives every day. They are there to serve the animals and match them to the best possible homes.
9. Shelters provide opportunities to learn through volunteering, expand your network and know more about the community you live in.
10. Adopt—it’s a matter of life, and the life you save may be your own! Studies have it that pets lower blood pressure and that pet people live longer. Just feeling good about how you contribute to solving a societal problem doesn’t hurt, either.
Hope you had a great Mother’s Day!
By: Mary Haight – Examiner.com
Then next year mom and grandma can take their friend to one of the many dog parks with free entrance, goodies and goodie bags for Mother’s Day.
The current U.S. financial crisis has the potential to grow into a serious animal welfare issue, warns Executive Vice President of ASPCA Programs, Dr. Stephen Zawistowski. As households across the country are caught in the economic downturn, an estimated 500,000 to one million cats and dogs are at risk of becoming homeless.
“According to national financial estimates, approximately one in 171 homes in the U.S. is in danger of foreclosure due to the subprime mortgage crisis,” Zawistowski observes. “Considering that approximately 63 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet, hundreds of thousands are in danger of being abandoned or relinquished to animal shelters.”
To avoid or ease the heartbreak of losing an animal companion due to economic hardship, the ASPCA urges pet owners who are faced with foreclosure to think of alternatives ahead of time:
- See if friends, family or neighbors can provide temporary foster care for their pet until they get back on their feet.
- If they are moving into a rental property, get written permission in advance that pets are allowed.
- Contact their local animal shelter, humane society or rescue group before they move. If a shelter agrees to take the pet, they should provide medical records, behavior information and anything else that might help the pet find a new home.
“Everyone is being affected by the current economic crisis in some way,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Community animal shelters and rescue groups across the country may soon be seeing an increase in homeless pets or a decrease in the donations they rely on.”
We urge ASPCA News Alert readers to help in any way that you can:
- Adopt a homeless pet.
- Donate used blankets, towels or even tennis balls to your local animal shelter.
- Foster adoptable animals until they find their forever homes.
- Help community members who may be struggling to take care of their pets.
For more information on pets in the economic crisis, please visit our pressroom.
(Chattanooga Times/Free Press – McClatchy-TribuneInformation Services via COMTEX) - Papi, the talking lead dog featured in today’s release of the film “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” says he puts “the ‘wow’ in ‘chee-WOW-wa.’”
But pet advocates are worried Papi’s big-screen presence could spark an unfortunate increase in demand for the tiny canine species. Such a spike encourages puppy mills and might fill shelters with abandoned animals after the movie’s appeal wears off, advocates say.
“Unfortunately, whenever a breed becomes suddenly popular, puppy mills will try to cash in on the trend,” said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee director for the Humane Society. “Chihuahuas have already seen their own detrimental spike after the launch of Taco Bell ads featuring the breed and celebrities making them a popular ‘purse dog.’”
As a species, Chihuahuas can be aggressive, territorial and bark a lot, pet advocates say, and they tend to bond only with a single person, even in a family household. When overbred in bad conditions, some of these bad qualities can be amplified, said Guy Bilyeu, executive director of the Hamilton County Humane Educational Society.
“Small dogs, the Chihuahuas and rat terriers, are some of the more notorious biters out there,” Mr. Bilyeu said.
Giving animals human-like qualities, as happens in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” is dangerous, says Donna Deweese, spokeswoman for the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center in Chattanooga.
“Movies like this always irritate me, because they have a tendency to portray Chihuahuas as accessories rather than living creatures,” Ms. Deweese said. “People see the animals as jewelry, and they don’t think about their needs.”
That sometimes means animals that are cute at first will find a home at the shelter in a few weeks, Mr. Bilyeu said.
“The first thing people are going to do after this movie is look in the newspaper for Chihuahua pups, but our advice is to know your breeder,” he said. “If you find a breeder, ask to see their facility. Any reputable breeder will be proud to show off their operation.”
“We have a few (Chihuahuas) in our shelter right now,” he said, “and you want to make sure that these animals have been brought up with the quality you would want to have in your home.”
Disney, the company releasing “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” warns viewers on its Web site not to rush out to adopt or buy the animals.
“Owning a pet is a major responsibility. Dogs require daily care and constant attention. Before bringing a dog into your family, research the specific breed to make sure it is suitable for your particular situation,” the Disney Web site warns.
Ms. McCollum said the Humane Society helped expose a puppy mill in Hickman County, Tenn., in June. About 700 dogs were rescued from the mill southwest of Nashville, and most were Chihuahuas, she said. They were kept in small cages and were diseased, she said.
“We have seen cages of Chihuahuas living in despicable conditions during our recent puppy mill raids, including this summer in Tennessee,” said Stephanie Shain, director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “They are one of the most common breeds being churned out by mills due to their small size and the ease in which they can be bred in cramped cages.”
And if you are going to get a dog… decide what type of breed you want, or better yet, don’t want, and then check the shelters and rescues first. If you buy one at a pet shop, make sure you know they are reputable and do a some questioning and checking into where they get their dogs (animals). Also ask yourself if you have the ability to properly care for a pet or make arrangements for them if are gone a lot. Pets like children are a full time commitment and should be a lifetime decision.
And if you suspect pet abuse or that people are raising pets in unfit or unsanitary conditions, report them.