Sunday, July 12, 2009

An amazing team effort

A team of UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers is currently in Missouri caring for approximately 400 dogs seized in a multi-state dogfighting raid on July 8. It was the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. The case is highly confidential, so we are unable to post photos and share much information about the animals. But please real below for some insight from the UAN staff and volunteers in the field. We will continue to post updates as we are able.

Submitted by UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies

We always say no two deployments are alike. This holds true for this deployment even more so than any other I have been involved in. Due to the strict confidentiality issues still in place, we can’t discuss many aspects of where we are or what we’re doing.

When I ask the EARS volunteers how they’re feeling or how they would describe their experiences, the most common comments are happy, heartbroken, sad, proud, privileged and, most often, exhausted.

The volunteers have been doing an absolutely amazing job of taking care of these guys and making sure shelter operations are running smoothly and efficiently. Not an easy task when they are caring for more than 400 dogs with very specific needs and limitations. The training and skills the EARS volunteers bring to the table make this a possibility. It could not have happened with out them.

The one thing that is really standing out is the ability of the EARS volunteers to "go with the flow" and react quickly. Circumstances are continually changing and we all have to stop and rethink our systems. A crisis comes up and everyone either helps accordingly or just stays out of the way. The value of the volunteers is evident to the many other agencies here and is commented on often. The EARS volunteers are focused, on alert, communicative, capable of following very specific protocols and directions, and working, working, working continuously to do what they can to help. It takes a very special person to come into this and be able to deal with it emotionally and physically. We are all having a hard time, but still getting the job done, and not just adequately….but exceptionally.

This shelter, this seizure, this historical incident would not be possible without these people. I can only imagine how difficult it must be coming from regular life and getting thrown into this extraordinary situation. I am grateful to The Humane Society of Missouri, The Humane Society of the United States, all of the other agencies involved, and especially our donors and supporters for enabling us to be here. Again, I am honored to be a part of the UAN team and to have worked alongside these compassionate, dedicated and special people.

The case is highly confidential, so we are unable to post photos and share much information about the animals.

But you can see ten of the dogs who were rescued in this video made by The Humane Society of the United States.

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