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Discussion Starter #1
I just wanted to share with people a situation has come to light in Kentucky today:

http://www.wlextv.com/global/story.asp?s=7998033

This is a well-known rescuer in this area. She has taken in many dogs including German Shepherds. Obviously the rescue community in this area has been abuzz with this all day.

Here are some of the things I've heard people say:

"But she seemed so nice!"
"She was always so helpful!"
"I appreciated that she was always willing to take dogs"
"I saw her paperwork and that looked fine"
"But she had a really nice website"

(http://www.animal-assist.org/dogs.html if you're interested)

From what we've been able to determine today, she and her husband were making their income selling the dogs they "rescued." At least 40 dogs were found dead and the number is larger every time they update the story. Starving dogs were feeding on the dead. Over 100 dogs and counting have been found on the property in deplorable conditions.

Tonight Kentucky and beyond is littered with broken hearts of shelters, rescuers, and transporters who thought they were helping dogs to a better of life and instead helped deliver them into a living ****.

Those of us, me included, who saw some red flags and refused to send her dogs but did nothing further to sound the alarm will have to live with that for the rest of our lives.

This kind of situation IS WHY YOU HAVE TO CHECK EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!! Please please please!!! And why rescue is not the time to be quiet, deferential, polite, and not ask questions. Know where you're sending that dog. Be a busybody. When you see somebody not checking, help them out. Get involved. What happened today is not a once in a blue moon occurence, in fact it's all too common as people learn to exploit the Internet.

Basic home visits and vet checks would have revealed what this person was up to.


I imagine mods will probably want to move this to the general rescue section but I thought it was important to post it here first because I am hoping more people will see it this way.

You cannot afford to assume the best about people in rescue. You don't have to be cynical but you've GOT to be careful. A dog's life depends on it.
 

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Or maybe to Current Dog Affairs? Then, after a while, move to general rescue.

I think a lot of people need to see this.

How awful those poor beings in that place. Oof-including at least one child.

Transparency is so important. People in rescue (and breeders of course) should be able to open their doors at any time for inspection.



Anna's shelter director had dead animals all over her property too.
 

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oh hannah, yes, this is totally heartbreaking. sometimes there are so few options for these dear souls...and when we find we've been betrayed by those we thought were helping us...well, there are just no words. take care, stay strong, many blessings to you for all you do.
 

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I remember the Saint when going through PetFinder. This is just heart breaking. The child, the dogs. How were they selling the dogs? Certainly not to adopters ... I would think that would have sent red flags up a while ago ... people know when they are adopting a sick dog. Please tell me they weren't selling the dogs to labs, please, please say that wasn't happening.
And the poor child. How can any child go on to live a normal life when they were surrounded by this horrific environment.
I'm closing up the computer for the night ... gonna go kiss the two-and-four legged kids good night.
 

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Very sad. I wish there was more info in that article. Was she clearly just trying to make money? There's a lot of mixes on her PF page if that's the case. Good intentions gone bad? You'd think someone would notice as she has over 50 dogs listed. Did her 'group' have known foster homes? Would be another red flag if she didn't. All the dogs listed have to be kept somewhere....

I wish there were more checks and balances in rescue. Unfortunately, groups very far and wide in how big they are and how they operate. Many shelters don't check references and I've never heard of them doing a home visit, at least down here. If the shelters don't do it, who is suppose to? Other rescues? Which ones?

I'll bet this kind of thing happens more often then anyone would care to think.
 

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There is such a fine line between rescuers, hoarders and profiteers. The only ones who suffer are the dogs from the first injustice to the next.
 

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Thank you for opening this ugly door and shedding light for all of us. It breaks my heart to read this, but we need to be aware of such practices.

I will definitely carry this lesson to my grave. And pass the message along to all dog owners, trainers, rescue organizations ...

Animals need our voices.
 

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This is beyond sickening- heartwrenching- I am in SHOCK. absolute shock. These poor animals!!!
I seen on her site that there are 5 listed as GSD puppies (one GSD/Husky) Abra, Balto, Belinda, Darla, and Eric. Will anyone be able to help them?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
More news stories:

http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/16558361.html

http://www.wlextv.com/global/story.asp?s=7998033 (this is the earlier one updated)

Currently it looks like the dogs are all going to a local vet clinic and from there to area shelters. I know a lot of rescue groups are trying to find out about certain dogs and offering to take others. I'm not sure if any have taken them yet.

In answer to the earlier question - I think this was a combination of good intentions gone awry and people basically puppy milling dogs from shelters.

The saddest thing is that this is not an isolated incident. For the sake of the dogs, we've all got to get involved and take those extra steps to be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:please tell me they weren't selling the dogs to labs, please, please say that wasn't happening.
No, to the best of my knowledge that, at least, wasn't happening. The "selling" I'm referring to was her adoption practices. It appears that she was soliciting purebreds and small puppies from shelters and other rescues (like groups who help with puppy mills) and then "adopting" them out with minimal (if any) vetting for $250 a piece, plus an additional $50 spay/neuter deposit. She was making regular transports to the northeast to deliver the dogs to adopters and charging $75 a head for transport.

$250 is a perfectly reasonable adoption fee but only if it covers all the vetting.
 

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"But she seemed so nice!"

There's a red flag for ya! I can tell you my adopters do not think I'm nice at all. If someone running a rescue seems real nice, it's got to a red flag cuz up and up rescuers are usually jaded, bitter and depressed BECAUSE they can't take them all and have to say "we're full" and then are thinking about the ones they had to literally give a death sentence to. Miss Mary Sunshine doesn't exist in rescue or she's not doing much real rescue.

I think the most important thing is to ask for a vet reference. If the shelters asked for a vet reference, they would find that only cheapie spays/neuters are being done and no other vetting.

What I found extremely odd about her petfinder listings is that she had prices listed FIRST before the animal's name. Why not all the same price? I can see males being a lower price than females, neuters cost less but different prices all together for different breeds???

This whole thing is what I hated about Europe when I went there. Lying in my bed at night in Naples, I couldn't sleep a wink the whole time I was there, listening to packs of wild dogs hunt each other down and kill each other, echoing down from the hilltops of the condemned parts of old Naples. I thought 'gee America is so great, this would never happen there.'

Yet also in Kentucky, you have shelters that shoot dogs out back. Heck of a choice for a dog, being shot or predated on by your own kind. I don't know, if it were to happen to you, which would you choose?

Sounds like this group did get some dogs out of the shooting scenario. Making a living off of selling them? I doubt it. What kind of luxury human accomodations were seen? Big house? Nice cars? Doesn't sound like the child benefitted anyway. Or was she just trying to keep ahead of expenses? I doubt this situation had always been like this. Sounds like something broke down and this horrible situation was the result, not the normal operating procedures.

I'm sure she started out wanting to make a difference. I mean no one in their right mind would really go into rescue thinking they were going to GET RICH.
 

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Not everyone wants to get rich - some people just want to get by. I have never met a legitimate rescue that broke even, let alone made profits. I am so disgusted and saddened by this.

dd
 

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Quote:I think the most important thing is to ask for a vet reference. If the shelters asked for a vet reference, they would find that only cheapie spays/neuters are being done and no other vetting
That's not necessarily so. I have done a vet reference where it was obvious that some animals at the home were fully vetted and that others had never been to the vet AT ALL so the vet was not even aware of them. A vet reference is only one small part of a package.

dd
 

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"But she seemed so nice!"

There's a red flag for ya! I can tell you my adopters do not think I'm nice at all. If someone running a rescue seems real nice, it's got to a red flag cuz up and up rescuers are usually jaded, bitter and depressed BECAUSE they can't take them all and have to say "we're full" and then are thinking about the ones they had to literally give a death sentence to. Miss Mary Sunshine doesn't exist in rescue or she's not doing much real rescue.


I agree to disagree. Yes, rescuers get tired and jaded, but you have to keep a professional, pleasant and informative approach to your adopters. There are too many breeders out there who are more than willing to step in and sell the party what they want if they have been turned off by you.
Be thorough, picky and most of all, explain the process to the adopter. Tell them why there is an application, references, vet references and home visit. Give them numbers and explain the plight of so many unwanted animals. Sometimes, not only do you end up with a great home for one of your dogs, but you have also recruited a new volunteer.
You have to help people understand your work! So many people, just don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Definitely not getting rich, but she was turning over a lot of dogs for high profit and cutting corners on their care. Also, many of the dogs she took had other more reputable rescues interested in them and she was soliciting highly adoptable dogs from shelters outside her area. So it was not a case of trying to save all these animals from certain death and getting overwhelmed.

She may have started out with good intentions, I could not say. If she did, that just underscores the point that good intentions alone are insufficient.

What I hope people take home from the experience is that people like this don't wear a sign that says "dog abuser" and we cannot let our desire for a happy ending cloud our judgement. Not everyone who says they're here to help actually is or knows what they're doing.
 

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The other thing is that 40 dogs did not die overnight. This was a long process that was allowed to continue, that is the most saddening part. If somenoe at some point had made that necessary visit, at least some of the suffering could have been avoided.

dd
 
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