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I am going to try and explain this as best as I can. I am posting this as it is being released today to the press. Please know that NONE of the dogs pulled from this board, with the exception of Sasha, (East TN), and her pups are involved. I was not even aware Sasha went to BrightStar until today. Sasha and her pups are safe with a foster for the Wayne County Humane Society.

This is isolated to the home of BrightStar’s founder. The events that lead up to this happening in the way it did, were unfortunate, as many people tried to help. The event that occurred yesterday is incredibly sad, but had to happen. BrightStar cannot be a strong force in the rescue world when its founder permits such events to happen. We all know rescue is a fine line and things were permitted to get out of control.

The dogs that were seized were “personal” dogs of the three people that live there, as well as local Intake dogs.

The statement below is inaccurate on one point, most of the dogs seized were not GSDs, the seized dogs consisted of many breeds, including GSDs.

Many of us were not aware that the Humane Society had stepped in before at Ruth Urban’s home and to be honest, this will come as a shock to many of the wonderful Brightstar volunteers and adoptive homes. However, it needs to be known so it can never happen again, if BrightStar survives this and many of us hope it will.

The BrightStar people that posted on this board, as far as coordinators, did not deceive anyone on this board. All dogs we were involved in pulling went to BrightStar foster homes and not to the home that was the subject of this event. In fact, several Coordinators, including myself, resigned from BrightStar several weeks ago.

ALL BrightStar dogs in foster homes were/are properly vetted and cared for. This is truly a sad day for all of us. ALL BrightStar’s policies and procedure were/are adhered to.

Again, this is an isolated matter, but I do understand its impact. Please know all dogs seized today are in appropriate hands and they were seized for overcrowding.

Unfortunately, when things like this happen, it will mar the good that BrightStar has done and it has done wonderful things since its inception. It is a case of getting in over your head, not being able to say no and accept help.

I know that some people will think - "well see - and it tauted itself as such a great role model" and that is unfortunate for BrightStar's name and its wonderful wonderful volunteers who work very hard for the dogs.

Just know there were volunteers within BrightStar who had to stand up for what was right or BrightStar would have imploded. Rescue does NOT mean save them and stick them in a crate, nor is it okay for them not to have their own families. It is impossible to give each dog the individual attention needed when there are so many.

Further, it is my understanding, that Ruth has resigned as President and as Intake Coordinator.

35 Dogs Seized for Unsanitary Conditions

FAIRPORT, NY  The Cruelty Investigations department of the Humane Society of Greater Rochester and the Humane Society of Wayne County have seized 35 dogs due to unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. The dogs, along with 2 parrots, were removed from the residence of Ruth Urban.

Humane Society Cruelty investigators worked in conjunction with Wayne County and the Town of Arcadia to respond to an anonymous complaint. The investigators found 35 dogs and 2 parrots at Urban’s residence living in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions that were a threat to the health of the animals. The 35 dogs were all kept in crowded crates in Urban’s house, and the dogs had been allowed to eliminate inside the house. The dogs, all German Shepherds, range in age from puppies to adults.

Due to the large number of animals, the care and housing of the dogs and birds is being shared by both Lollypop Farm and the Humane Society of Wayne County. Urban was president of the Bright Star German Shepherd Rescue Group.

“It is fortunate that we were able to remove these dogs before the situation deteriorated further,” said Richard Gerbasi, Humane Society Vice President of Operations and Field Services. “It is regrettable that this may mar the reputation of others who are devoted to animal welfare and strive to provide the highest standard of care to the animals they rescue.”

Charges are pending in this case. Keeping animals in unsanitary conditions can lead to a misdemeanor charge with a possible sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
For more information on this case, contact Humane Society Vice President of Operations and Field Services, Richard Gerbasi, at (585) 259-0733.

Animal cruelty calls should be reported to the Animal Cruelty Hotline at (585) 223-6500. Calls are treated confidentially.
 

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That's sad. I thought brightstar was exactly that, a bright star in the rescue world. Now I'm in tears for all the dogs involved. Not to justify her behavior but it sounds like someone was overwhelmed with good intentions.
 

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I'm really sorry to hear that; if I can say, the Brightstar people I've seen post on this board have always seemed to me to be wonderful people who I have a lot of respect for.

Coming from a cat rescue background, I've seen and dealt with similar situations. It's not easy to deal with.
 

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Jenn, I have a theory about why this occurs in rescue (at least cat rescue). It is really sad though, for the animals involved - I definitely think it is something where people start out with good intentions, and those go awry.
 

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I hope that both Brightstar and Ruth will find the strength to deal with this situation, learn from it and continue with the work of saving dogs.
 

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And I WAS BASHED and LHSH also for saving Sabbitt! Which I might add is in a wonderful foster home!!! My motives were in questioned by Brightstar. I feel sorry for these poor dogs. I hope justice will be served.
 

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Is someone taking over? What will happen to the dogs already in foster care with Brightstar?

I feel so bad for all the volunteers. I hope this does not deter them from rescue.

So sad.
 

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I think it is important to be able to look at this in totality and in its separate pieces.

The totality piece is that Ruth was one of the founders of BrightStar. The other, Kathy Bronson, recently passed away having left BrightStar and founding Blue Moon Meadows. Ruth helped many people and dogs, and helped me to get my Annalise, despite opposition to that from others, and I am forever grateful for that. Ruth has not posted on this board in a long time, to my knowledge.

However, the pieces part is that she is not all of BrightStar. What Darcy said here: "Just know there were volunteers within BrightStar who had to stand up for what was right or BrightStar would have imploded. Rescue does NOT mean save them and stick them in a crate, nor is it okay for them not to have their own families. It is impossible to give each dog the individual attention needed when there are so many." is very true. And if it were not for the volunteers of BrightStar and their concern for the dogs, this situation would have/could have continued.

They stepped up and out on behalf of the dogs, despite personal and caring relationships with the people involved, and deserve a great deal of respect for being able to do so. I hope that everyone could do that if they need to.

There are a great many rescuers with good intentions on petabuse.com and it saddens me-I totally get it and feel I could go that way if not for my understanding of myself-this is why, even in our own organizations we must always ask where is that dog going, and have the ability to police ourselves, keep open door policies and maintain absolute transparency.

I can post some good hoarding links if anyone is interested and thanks to those who have expressed their care and concern.
 

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As the extremely fortunate adopter of my dear Wolf from BrightStar almost three years ago, I am profoundly shocked.

I dearly hope that the undeniable good that BrightStar has done will outlive this incident and the wonderful volunteers can continue to save dogs.

Mary Jane
 

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Actually, skyizzy, this is exactly why transparency is important. Where is the dog going, has there been a homevisit, who is responsible ultimately for the dogs' welfare? This is precisely why questions are asked.

dd
 

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Jean, that's a great post.

One point I would raise is that diagnostically, I believe hoarding is classed as a form of OCD.

I know what you mean about 'getting it' - I know people who start out with the best of intentions, and it's just gone wrong - it's one reason why I do not take in any animal without talking it over with an independent third party who has no background in rescue (currently a bf who feels like he's dating someone w/several children, and who has always had single animals).
 

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Well dd next time I have to transport a dog to a foster you are more than welcome to come along. I know where the dogs are going. People in glass houses should not throw stones.
 

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Skyizzy, as stated above this was an isolated case that involved only on member of Brightstar's organization. Yes, it was the president, but that does not mean that every volunteer with this rescue needs to grouped into the same catagory.

I am also very much involved with rescue and I would not be affended if someone from Brightstar or any other rescue questioned me. We all need checks and balances. It is very easy to become over whelmed in rescue. Everyday you have to decide which ones will live and which ones will die. There just is not enough foster homes to save them all.

Lets not forget all the good work that this rescue has accomplished. Nor should we forget this one bad event. Hopefully we can all learn from this and keep this from happening again in the future.
 

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I would just like to say that I am a person who deals in fact and so I felt it necessary to contact the Humane Society Vice President of Operations and Field Services, Richard Gerbasi, at (585) 259-0733 to learn for myself the facts of this case. He reports that Ruth has been removed as President of this organization. He is not aware of the replacement at this time. The dogs that were seized were of all breeds. They were not all GSD's. The dogs were in good body condition. They were seized due to the conditions they were being kept in. The Humane Society is emphatic that the rest of the volunteers and foster homes within this group are all excellent rescuers and that this should in no way reflect upon the group as a whole. This is a situation where someone with the best of intentions could not control their need or desire to save animals and ended up with too many.
 

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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAANjarn-I think you are right.

I think it is even more common with cats-probably the size issue? The neighbor issue?

I have asked someone for a really good hoarding link.
Tufts University has a hoarding research consortium, they have a very information site:
http://www.tufts.edu/vet/cfa/hoarding/

I think it does become easy w/cats because of the size issue, and they're easy to 'hide', dogs are far more public pets.


Edit: I haven't been on the Tufts site in a long time, it's interesting that they're looking at other psychological/psychiatric disorders as being involved beyond just OCD. Very interesting the traumatic/abuse childhood link as well. My theory is (at risk of offending people, though keep in mind I do (obviously) also have a rescue background) is that there is a higher-than-normal rate of mental illness or disorder in rescuers than in the general population. I can't say for dog rescuers, but for cat rescuers, I do strongly believe that to be true. I know not all rescuers, and not all rescuers w/a mental illness/disorder will be hoarders, many can be wonderful homes, it's just my experience. I'm NOT commenting on the Brightstar situation as I don't know the people involved, it's just a general comment.
 

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I'm in tears...I can't even finish reading...
 

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I would be very reluctant to criticize Brightstar as an entity, when looking at their 100's and 100's of good deeds.
As Darcy pointed out....ONE person (yes the Pres) has come to horribly abuse the dogs and maybe her position. Maybe due to age, stress, OCD (as some one mentioned), health issues, mental issues....who knows. Thank GOD, that the dogs are pulled and safe. That does NOT diminish the work of Brightstar. My hope is that a reorganized Brightstar can come back and flourish.........That we will support those wonderful volunteers and foster moms and dads who did a great job......That we will learn a hard lesson. We need all the responsible rescue help we can get. Thank you mcdoglovers for your info.
 

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This is very serious and I am not in any way defending anyone - but to say the dogs were "horribly abused" sounds like over-stating the case. Per mcdoglover's post "The dogs were in good body condition" but in overcrowded conditions. Nowhere does it say they were starved or abused, though they were clearly neglected.

It will be sad of all the good that Brightstar has done over the years is overshadowed by this single event.

dd
 
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