Animal Neglect, Animal Cruelty, and Why I Took a Stand
If you’re new to the blog, I’m into animal rescue. I drive rescue transports, I monitor rescue transports, I adopted two rescue dogs, I occasionally do temp fostering, etc. I’ve transported rescue dogs straight from shelters, I’ve transported rescue dogs who’d been in boarding for ages, I’ve transported rescue dogs from a temporary foster or even a long-term foster. I’ve had dogs pee and poo in my car. I’ve had dogs with ticks in the car, usually because their flea and tick medication hasn’t kicked in yet. If you see a loose dog on the side of the road, and a woman outside of her vehicle, trying to get to it, that’s probably me! I keep slip leads, treats, water, and bowls in my car. I’ve stopped to pick up strays, and I’ve politely asked dog owners to take better care of their dogs when they get loose.
In February or March, Mac and I were visiting my parents, and we were on our way home from a late dinner. It was very cold, late (after 11 or so), and a block from their house, we saw a puppy running loose. Without question, Mac stopped the car, I hopped out, grabbed a leash. She wouldn’t come right towards me, and her owners were looking for her, and chasing her. Mac headed home, leashed Geno, and met us. We herded her to someone’s driveway, where we were able to contain her between a garage door and a few cars. When we got home and told my parents, my mother’s comment was, “I figured you saw a loose dog. I was just afraid you’d bring it home!”
I’m explaining all of this for those who are new to the blog, because what I did today was necessary, given my views on rescuing dogs.
I feel a little guilty admitting this, because I feel like it’s a failure on my part… A good friend bought a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder this weekend. Yes, I’m so into rescue, and she buys a puppy… Talk about feeling like a failure… What makes it worse is that from what she’s shared with me about the dog’s condition, the condition of the parents, and some other items, she bought the German Shepherd from a backyard breeder, which means it’s not a reputable, responsible breeder. She bought the dog from a German Shepherd breeder in Marysville, PA. I’m not naming names, and as the breeder is no longer listed on the AKC website as having puppies for sale, I’m figuring that suffices.
The friend told me that her new, five-month-old puppy has not only fleas, but tapeworms as well. She then said that, “The male dog is very friendly and looks good but if you pet him you’ll find he is skinny – probably worms. The female, she said is aggressive but showed no signs of aggression to us. She is noticeably skinny and has sores on her rump that are easy to see. Flies and gnats swarm her sore area.”
I couldn’t, in good conscience, hear this and not do something about it. If we had lots of money, I’d have called the breeder and offered to buy her two dogs, but let’s face it—even if I did, we’d buy them to give them to a rescue, and chances are, she’d only turn around and get new dogs.
So, I did the only other thing I could think of doing… I’ve reported her to multiple authorities, out of concern for the dogs. Now, my friend is concerned that the breeder will want the puppy back, because she’ll figure that she reported it, but she didn’t. Check that--the friend is now really upset over it, and is pretty upset at me for reporting the breeder. I did it, because the thought of those dogs suffering from tapeworms and sores, and not getting necessary veterinary attention sickens me. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t do something? How could I turn a blind eye to that, yet still do what I do to help other dogs? I didn't make the decision lightly, and I know I may lose a great friend because of it, but I also know that doing the right thing is hard. If doing the right thing was easy, everyone would do it.
I can hope that the dogs get the veterinary attention they need, so they can go on to live healthy, parasite free lives, and any physical scars can heal. If they can do that and stay with the current owner, great, because it saves a rescue from having to take in and treat two dogs. If they can’t stay with the current owner, then I hope that a rescue can take them in and they can find great new homes.
If money is an issue in maintaining the health of dogs, there are many options out there for all pet owners! In the Southcentral PA area, there are all sorts of low-cost vaccination clinics, and you can also buy your heartworm and flea and tick medication there, and there are other options to help with vet bills if you can’t find a low-cost vaccination clinic in your area. I should probably add an entry about that one of these days!
Now, for the PSA: If you see animal cruelty, neglect, or abuse, please report it. Remember, humans are the voice for the voiceless animals. For the benefit of open discourse: if you found this because you know this breeder, you can feel free to comment, in a civil manner, please. Just please keep it to the topic at hand, no threats, no personal bashing, etc. For that matter, if you have solid proof that these dogs are not in this condition, please, feel free to post it, and I'll apologize!