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Discussion Starter #81
Quote: 100 animals rescued from 1-bedroom upstate NY home

Posted at: 02/04/2010 10:51 AM | Updated at: 02/04/2010 11:02 AM

WHEC-TVA central New York animal welfare group is hoping the public will adopt some of the 100 animals rescued from a one-bedroom rural home.

Officials at the Tompkins County SPCA say the rescue of dozens of dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs and chinchillas is straining resources at the Ithaca-based organization's shelter, which was already full when the animals were removed from the home last week.

Investigators say the animals were being kept in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions at a home in Brooktondale, 10 miles southeast of Ithaca. Authorities say several dead animals were found on the property.

Officials say the animals were being kept by a person who was a self-scribed "animal rescuer."

Investigators haven't released the person's name.

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #83
Another one from another post:
Here is a prime example of why we need to be careful when we send a dog to "rescue". This "rescue", Humane Sanctuary, was raided recently and around 100 dogs were seized. They were found living in deplorable conditions, along with some cats, chickens, ducks and horses.

Here is a link to the story - THE PHOTOS ARE GRAPHIC - and the first photo is of a GSD. :( The dogs are now at the Trumbull County pound, which I believe is a kill shelter.

"Deplorable conditions, filth, feces and animals living in there including two dead dogs that the others dogs were feeding off of because they were hungry,"
Dr. Rufus Sparks said walking around Kathy Witzman's property was "like running a gauntlet" because of the number of dogs tied up outside her Gustavus farmhouse."The cats couldn't do it. The ducks couldn't do it. We could barely walk around out there," Sparks said Monday from the undisclosed location where 162 dogs were housed following a raid Friday at Witzman's home at 5175 state Route 87.
In addition to the dogs, 18 cats, two horses, several geese, ducks and chickens were confiscated from the home.
Sparks, a veterinarian at Town & Country Veterinary Hospital in Howland, is one of about 10 local veterinarians assisting the Animal Welfare League with medical assessments and care of the animals. He said two dogs died since Friday.
Barb Busko of the Animal Welfare League said nearly all of the dogs have some kind of medical problem, whether it's dehydration or open sores. Two dogs were in a separate room, one just hours away from giving birth and another due within several days.
Thank goodness:
A woman who found two stray dogs searched the Internet for somewhere to take them and found Witzman, who billed herself as a humane sanctuary, she said.
"When she saw the conditions the animals were kept in, she contacted the sheriff's office. That phone call kicked off this process," Busko said.
Pleads innocent:
BROOKFIELD — Judge Ronald Rice of Eastern District Court ordered Kathy Witzman of Gustavus to stay away from animals until a criminal case charging her with cruelty to animals and open dumping is complete.
He also ordered that close to 200 animals taken from her home on state Route 187 on Friday and Saturday become the property of the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County, which is caring for them at several undisclosed locations.
The league says the ruling will allow it to begin finding permanent homes for the animals, though it’s possible some will have to be euthanized.
During a Thursday hearing, Witzman, 58, operator of Humane Sanctuary Inc. for the past 14 years, pleaded innocent to the two charges and was released on a personal-recognizance bond, meaning at no cost.
She told Judge Rice she would try to come up with $2,250 in bond money by Monday to retain the rights for a month to three dogs she believed would not fare well under the care of the Animal Welfare League because of their aggressive tendencies.
“I wish I could keep them all. I just can’t afford the bond,” she said tearfully after the hearing.
Witzman said she realizes her home “wasn’t the Ritz” but thinks that her house, a barn and the backyard where she kept the 162 dogs, 15 cats, 14 chickens, five ducks and two horses kept alive a lot of animals that otherwise would be dead.
“It was a farm setting. This isn’t a million-dollar facility,” she said of the home authorities raided Friday, finding filthy conditions in the house, and dogs that reportedly were not being fed, watered or kept in a humane manner.
Witzman said she accepted dogs from all over Ohio and didn’t turn away breeds thought to be aggressive, such as pit bulls or bull dogs.
Witzman ran a “no kill” shelter, which doesn’t euthanize dogs for having aggressive tendencies, she said.
The raid put Witzman in the Trumbull County jail briefly and sent her 97-year-old mother to the hospital. It came about because a woman from Cleveland “ingratiated herself” at Witzman’s home and then brought other people there who thought dogs should not live outside during the winter, Witzman said.
Witzman said she believes the dogs — most of them living in cages or chained to dog houses in Witzman’s backyard or in a barn — were better off there than dead.
She added that she and her helpers distributed 160 pounds of dog food every day and water to every dog every day — a statement that Deputy Harold Firster of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s office disputes. Firster said he believes the dogs went long periods without food or water.
Witzman said some of the dogs were thin but only because they came to her that way. She said the two dead dogs found in the house were alive when she left but were attacked and partially eaten by other dogs because of the commotion in the house Friday.
Sean O’Brien, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said that if Witzman is convicted on the animal-cruelty charge, one of the possible terms of her probation is that she be prohibited from being around animals for up to five years. Witz-man’s next hearing in Eastern District Court is March 4.
Witzman said she first started her animal sanctuary in Suffield Township, Portage County, 14 years ago and moved to Gustavus in 2001.
Barbara Busko, Animal Welfare League president, said Witzman’s desire to help animals is sincere, but Witzman apparently was unable to accept that there are limits to what she can do. Unlike other no-kill shelters that refuse to accept dogs beyond a certain number, Witzman apparently refused to turn any animals away and “got overwhelmed.”
The website:

Scary because they say on it:
The Humane Sanctuary, Inc. requires an application and a home visit.
Because of that...would I have thought them okay to send a dog to?

6,659 Posts
Many thanks Jean. Great place to put this.

12,142 Posts
Do you know who you are pulling for?
Do you know who you are transporting for?
A very powerful reminder to check out who you are helping...........
just one dog . . . Floppy's story

2,652 Posts
I read the initial, first post...And I understand what this girl did was sick and wrong, but I'm not sure I understand her motive behind doing what she did? I skimmed through the rest of the posts to see if I could figure it out, but I still think I'm missing something.

Was she thinking she could handle animal after animal, then gave them up to shelters? Was she somehow trying to make money off them? (Though I don't know how she would giving them up to shelters). Why exactly was she doing what she was doing? Forgive me if the answer is blatantly obvious, I just am not understanding why. What she was doing is not okay, I just don't know what her reasoning for doing it is.

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #89
Just bumping this up for new members to read.

The Urgent Rescue forum is often the last hope for many rescues. It’s a place where emotions run high and haste is essential. That combination provides the energy necessary to save many Shepherds. Unfortunately, it also provides an opportunity for exploitation. There are some that visit this area only to exploit the animals and rescuers. Sadly there have been and continue to be cases were caring members have been deceived. This deception has cost some of our members a few dollars and some animals their lives.

Please remember the anonymous nature of the internet. Before you offer your financial help or surrender one of these animals, please ask yourself – What do I really know about this person?

So often rescue is about trust. It’s disheartening that there are those that will abuse that trust. Use caution and do a little research before you place your trust in people you know little about.

Hare are some warning signs:

1. Members without rescue representation who offer to foster or adopt multiple dogs within a short time period, pregnant dogs, or litters of pups.

2. Members who have fostered or adopted dogs from the rescue forums in the past, but have no current information on the disposition of those dogs. Goes double for those who have fostered or adopted dogs that ended up in questionable circumstances (lost, PTS without a viable explanation, not spayed/neutered, surrendered to shelters, given away to irresponsible owners).

3. Members who decline home visits from rescue organizations.

Here are some tips to help authenticate:

1. The PA (Potential Adopter) MUST be approved by a local rescue group. Doesn't HAVE to be a Shepherd rescue groups but I would recommend a herding or working breed group.

2. PA must provide work reference, vet reference and trainer reference.

3. PA must agree to a home check (again - by a local rescue group).

Thank you,

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #90
Video on link

GOSHEN -- An animal cruelty investigation is underway at the home of Dawn Scheld, 46, of 737 Goshen Road. Law enforcement officers with the state S.P.C.A. raided the home at 10 a.m., armed with a search warrant.

Six dogs were found buried in the backyard; officers said they stopped digging because they had enough evidence to charge her.

Fifty seven sick and malnourished dogs were being kept in unconscionable conditions inside a home covered with fecal matter and urine. Dogs were also housed outside, their pens were covered in feces. Their water was frozen and little evidence of food could be found.

The dogs are receiving emergency medical attention from a veterinarian who responded to the scene.

Sheld was arrested when she came home this afternoon. She is being charged with causing the death of animals. Officials said additional charges will be filed at the conclusion of their investigation. Sheld is lodged in the Cape May County Jail on $50,000 full cash bail. Official's said she had recently returned from North Carolina with five more dogs.

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #95
Should have done a home check:

ASHTABULA– Tammy Dondorfer can barely stand the sight.
Over the past couple months, she has helped rescue 30 dogs in a case of animal hoarding. The situation is only getting worse.
“We realize a lot of them were missing a lot of hair, so there was definitely disease running through there,” said Dondorfer, the animal welfare director at the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League. “There were a few that were thin. They were housed five to six per kennel.”
In December, the APL got a tip that a county resident was housing about 40 dogs outside of his home. She said the area breeder became overwhelmed with the responsibility.
While most of the dogs were well-fed, Dondorfer said their health was deteriorating.
“All the dogs are being treated for sarcoptic mange, which is a zoonotic disease,” she said. “That means it can transfer to humans, so we have to be careful when we’re bringing the animals in.”
Mange is a mite which often causes itching and skin infection, Dondorfer said. Many dogs had bloody and scabby bodies as a result.
The infections can take months to treat – time the APL cannot afford.
“We only have room for 80 dogs, and we’re already at capacity, so by bringing in more dogs, it’s straining the already tight resources that we have,” said Dr. Irene Fiala, Vice President of the Board of Directors at the APL.
The APL seized 15 dogs in December and another five last week.
Some animals have struggled to survive.
Dondorfer said one collie had such poor teeth, they will need to be removed. Another dog, named Isis, battled skin infections and has a hole in its leg.
Although many of the dogs are unhealthy, Dondorfer said the county has not pressed charges against the person responsible.
“He is cooperating,” she said. “We thought we would try to go in, get the worst case scenarios first and try to keep working out something that we just keep going back until we get everybody.”
Until then, Dondorfer said her goal is to rehabilitate the dogs that have been neglected and to help them – among the many others – find a home.
The Ashtabula County Animal Protective League is located at 5970 Green Road in Ashtabula.
The APL is open 1 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is also open 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
APL Rescues Hoarded Animals | ? Cleveland news & weather

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #96
Imagine sending your foster there and finding out after the fact:
ENGLEWOOD - 30 animals, including, dogs, cats, and birds have been rescued after living in squalor inside an Englewood home.
Volunteers with Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS) took the animals, which are now being prepared for foster families and adoptions. There are 20 cats, 7 dogs and 3 birds.
"This is one of the worst cases we have ever seen," said Bobbi Austin with EARS.
The pets were living inside the home on Kilborne Avenue. An elderly woman owns the house. Volunteers say the home is in deplorable shape. All of the animals were full of fleas when they were discovered. Also discovered were some dead animals, including a parrot, hamster, fish, and ferret.
"It was like her family. What I cannot understand is how she could let them starve to death," said Austin.
Volunteers found out about the case from one of the homeowner's friends. The friend did not want to be identified, but she told us something had to be done.
"Am I proud of what I did? In a way, yes. I want these animals to have a good life like her. I want them to be happy and healthy, just like I want her to be," said the homeowner's friend.
The homeowner is currently in the hospital suffering from a broken wrist and some respiratory problems, according to her friend. She is said to be upset over her pets being taken away.
"Right now, the pets are going to be put aside so we can evaluate them. Eventually, they will go up for adoption. Since we are a no kill, they will all be adopted one way or another," said Austin.
If you would like to learn how you can adopt one of the animals, or become a foster parent, please contact EARS at, (941) 475-0636. The Sanctuary is also looking for volunteers and funding to support the new additions.
Animals rescued from Englewood hoarding situation - Sarasota News | and ABC 7: 7 South Newsroom

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #97
Former board member:

In what seems to be a recurring issue across the nation, yet another dog "rescue" organization has been busted for issues involving neglect and abuse.
According to Friday's WPVI News, after several complaints were made to the mayor, officials in Marcus Hook, Pa., raided a woman's home and seized upwards of 30 dogs.
The woman, Terry Silva, who is a lawyer, is said to operate the Sixth Angels Shepherd Rescue Inc.
The information on the rescue organization's website states that the agency is a non–profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
According to the news publication, the "rescue" is not licensed or certified by the state.
The Pennsylvania SPCA describes the woman running the fake rescue as a hoarder, and they allege that she has a history of hoarding.
Officials who worked to remove the dogs from the building, located on West 10th Street, describe filthy conditions - so much so that after the animals were removed, the unit was condemned.
Click here to watch video clip.
Neglected dogs seized from hoarder posing as a rescuer - National Dogs |

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #98
More - dogs were sent there:

Delco bust highlights fake rescue issue

POSTED: Sunday, February 24, 2013, 11:13 AM
Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer

UPDATE - We have learned that in November 2010 a property used by Silva to house dogs was raided by the PSPCA after complaints of unsanitary conditions and sick dogs and a caretaker was charged. Also, Silva was issued a state kennel license in 2009 and it was renewed through 2012, despite numerous violations, including poor record keeping and failure to possess health certificates from dogs transported from other states. It is unknown if her license was renewed for 2013. The address listed for Silva's kennel was 1617 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, which is the Suburban Station building.
When humane society officials raided the Delaware County law office of Terry Silva on a grungy block in Marcus Hook on Friday, they pulled out 28 malnourished German Shepherds and shepherd mixes, including a puppy, a pregnant female and one dog so old and sick it had to be euthanized.
"They were very, very thin," said Wendy Marano, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania SPCA. The good news: Silva surrendered the dogs and they will be available for foster and adoption, she said.
The building
Nine years ago Silva was on top of the world, winning a $317,000 settlement in a dispute involving the Chichester School district where she was solicitor. Then 43, she was described in an Inquirer profile as tenacious and detail-oriented.
The media attention the Villanova-trained attorney has gotten ever since has been far from laudatory.
In April 2010 Silva was cited in connection with an illegal dog transport bringing dogs from a North Carolina shelter to her organization, Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue. Silva was charged with purchasing dogs in a public place. The driver of the transport van was cited for housing animals in filthy cages and 17 dogs were seized by humane officers.
In a second case that year, PSPCA officers raided and cited a caretaker, Steve Alston, who was operating a kennel for Sixth Angel. An investigation began after complaints of unsanitary living conditions and dogs not receiving vet care. entered into a consent decree in which he agreed that the animals at the property were living in unsanitary conditions and were being denied veterinary care.
Silva sued the Pennsylvania SPCA and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement in both cases. At least one lawsuit is still pending in federal court, Bengal said.
Silva's website says she started her animal rescue to honor the 9/11 search dogs who worked at the World Trade Center, and says her rescue was licensed by the state.
Since then Silva has been cited multiple times by local authorities for barking dogs and operating rental properties without a permit.
Now she faces multiple counts of animal cruelty. Her Petfinder page, that on Friday showed eight healthy-looking dogs for adoption, was swiftly taken offline.
The ABC news story of the Friday raid below shows dogs being removed from the two-story building where Silva had her law offices. Zoning inspectors immediately condemned as unfit for human habitation.
"Every place in the building was covered with urine and feces," said George Bengal, the PSPCA's director of humane law enforcement. He said some dogs were found crammed in crates and others locked in different rooms.
In the ABC news report, the anchor and reporter express amazement that an animal hoarder could masquerade as a rescue.
Truth is, it happens all the time. In the last week alone, four hoarders pretending to be rescues have been exposed in the region and animals removed, said Libby Williams, whose website PetWatchNJ tracks fake rescues.
Driving the fake rescue business is desperation among shelter operators in the South and Appalachia where cash-starved dog pounds are forced to euthanize large numbers of animals, there is little access to spay/neuter services and pet owners allow their unaltered animals to roam.
In the past several years in Pennsylvania and South Jersey, authorities have busted numerous pseudo "rescues" many claiming to help save animals facing death in southern shelters.
Authorities in multiple states have removed hundreds of sick and injured animals from so-called rescues among them, Faithful but Forgotten in Fayette County and Tiger Ranch, one of the nation's worst cat hoarding cases, near Pittsburgh. Just last month Dawn Scheld, who ran SOS CanineRescue and Rehabilitation in Cape May County NJ, was sentenced for animal cruelty two years after authorities removed 60 sick and injured dogs and other animals.
Terry Silva told her website readers that the mission of her rescue was to help address the "plight of the southern dog" and to promote the German Shepherd as a family dog. She writes:
We believe that God will judge a man by that which he chooses in his life to treat as trash
Delco bust highlights fake rescue issue

24,301 Posts
Discussion Starter #99
Why do a home check?

Good Samaritan Discovers Dog Hoarding in Marfa Neighborhood, 3 Dogs Dead 2/26/13

Felicia Bolton
[email protected]
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 26, 2013

MARFA, TX - Today Marfa residents are speaking out on nearly two dozen dogs barricaded inside tight quarters with unsanitary living conditions.

A good deed turned into a nightmare, once a samaritan found dead dogs inside the home and more than 20 animals locked in rooms.

Tyler Spurgin says he was helping a neighbor going out of town. But when he arrived to feed his neighbor's dogs; he was left in shock after what he found.

“He let me know that I was going to need to go in through the window in order to get inside his trailer. Because he has all the doors barricaded. I did that and I found the condition inside really horrible," said Marfa resident Tyler Spurgin.

Spurgin discovered 20 dogs living in their own feces, trapped in cages and without any food or water.

“We kind of always knew he kept a lot of dogs. When Tyler came home on Friday night, after coming here, he was visibly shaken by what he found when he came into the property,” said Surgin’s wife Lena Hill.

Among the mess, the couple says they discovered three dead dogs. It’s a tragedy they immediately informed police about.

“The next Saturday morning, I went directly to the sheriff’s department to file the complaint,” said Spurgin.

The Presidio County Sheriff's Department says there is little they can do about the situation now, because they are waiting for their animal services officers to return from vacation.

Until then the couple says they will be caring for the pets and trying to keep them alive.

We tried contacting the owner of the dogs; however he did not answer our phone calls. Tyler and Lena say they've been out of contact with the owner for 2 days now.
CBS 7 - Your Eye on West Texas
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