Friday, September 4, 2009

Here we go again

Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager

UAN is at yet another puppy mill deployment. How wonderful is it that we can make such a difference across the country, to so many animals, in such a short period of time?! We are all tired and sore, but so inspired with the impact we have made over the last few days, weeks and months.

UAN volunteers are now in turner County, South Dakota helping to care for almost 200 dogs who have come from horrible conditions.

You can read more about this situation in our
press release or watch this news segment.

These are all hunting breed dogs, not the fluffy little ones we have become accustomed to, but still loving and desperate for attention like all of the other animals we have helped. The retrievers, Weimaraners, spaniels and others are much heartier than the Maltese, poodles and Chihuahuas we usually work with, but there are still signs of obvious neglect.

Many of these active, energetic dogs were kept in small kennels and most of the puppies and nursing moms were held in silos or other small farm structures. It was obvious that these dogs had little or no contact with the outside world, as rescuers had to cut holes into some of the buildings to fit their bodies through to get to the dogs. Small, high windows were their only source of light and fresh air. They lived in their own waste with no attention to health or hygiene.

Many of the puppies are in very poor to critical condition, but are improving rapidly with the supportive care of the veterinary team and the volunteers. Constant rehydration and supplemental nutrition has been necessary for them to survive. With a full volunteer crew and a team of vets, this is something they are receiving constantly at the emergency shelter.

I personally am not overly familiar with hunting breed dogs, but am learning what is “normal” and what is not. The males are almost all obese while the females are emaciated. There are no dogs between the ages of six weeks to one year, which leads me to believe the dogs in our care are the “breeding stock.” The females are giving everything they’ve got to their puppies and spend most of their time sleeping in the small wading pools we have set up with sheets and towels.

The males are going bonkers in their kennels, which are quite a bit larger than what they were housed in on the property. We are doing our best to keep their water buckets full as most of the dogs are dehydrated and in their excitement for human contact and attention are constantly knocking them over.

Every so often the shelter becomes unusually quiet. All of the dogs are just worn out and getting so comfortable in their clean kennels full of soft cedar chips. They are now on a regular feeding and cleaning schedule (and we are only on day two!) and getting the comfort, care and rest they so desperately deserve.

Although this is a new experience for me in dealing with a large number of large-breed dogs, I still feel the overwhelming satisfaction that these guys are in a much better place and are already benefitting from it. Thank goodness for Second Chance Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States and UAN. I feel confident that each of these dogs will go from being a commodity to becoming a family member and pet … something every dog deserves.


  1. Labs, Weims, and the like are my absolute favorite dogs. They are such loyal creatures when treated right, so you guys are all making a very important impression upon their new lives. Make the best of it! Go EARS!

  2. Annetta Cepek9/8/09, 12:09 PM

    I was honored to be at the South Dakota deployment this past weekend..What an incredible team! The level of caring, of team spirit and, above all, concern and love for all of the dogs was always so present and consistent. The dogs seemed to thrive with our attention, care and love and it was easy to sense their appreciation for what we could do for them.
    I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team and organization!


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