Monday, February 7, 2011

Could you be loved?

For the 98 dogs rescued from a puppy mill in Tennessee last Wednesday, the answer is a resounding "yes!" UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers reported that the dogs were all exceptionally loving after just a few days in the temporary shelter.

Bob Marley, who had the worst matting of all the rescued dogs, was particularly thrilled to get a bath and haircut. Check out his before and after photos:
Bob Marley was so matted, he wasn't
even recognizable as a dog.

A bath a some serious grooming revealed
how handsome Bob truly was.
As of Saturday, all of the rescued puppy mill dogs were transferred to permanent shelters and rescue groups, where they will find their forever homes.

If you are interested in adopting one of the rescued puppy mill dogs, please contact one of the following groups directly:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Next in Line for a Clean, Close Shave

On the Road to Recovery

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Getting kisses from puppies
It was a busy day for the dogs and the UAN volunteers today. Each dog was taken by a volunteer to be examined by a veterinarian to determine immediate health needs and to get its weight, temperature, heart rate and other vital statistics. The dogs were then microchipped and given vaccinations and preventive medications. Though it is a long and sometimes tedious process, it also allows the volunteers time to interact with the dogs and get the really neglected ones used to being handled.

Getting his first touch of love

Most of them were a bit nervous at first but quickly calmed down and truly enjoyed being cuddled and petted. The puppies were the most fun, cuddling and nuzzling and kissing, with their tails wagging non-stop.
But the dogs that always pierce my heart are those who are either so frightened that they shiver and shake and grab onto the person holding them with a death grip using their bodies and paws or those who are totally shut down, hiding in the back of the cage and not moving, eating or drinking. Today I had the opportunity to watch many of those very frightened dogs relax and fall asleep in their handlers arms after just a short amount of time. In fact, I fell in love with one I was handling, a small white poodle who was stiff as a board the first 10 minutes I held him, but cuddled up to me during his exams, shots and microchipping, and fell asleep in my arms before I took him back to his kennel. I continue to be amazed at the capacity dogs have for love and forgiveness.

This pup's eyes were virtually
matted shut
Though there weren’t a large number of dogs who appeared to be shut down and completely removed from the desire for human contact, there were a few and they were in some of the worst shape I have seen. The chocolate brown poodle/Maltese mix that was so matted we couldn’t tell front end from back end will haunt me forever. He could barely see from the mats around his eyes and had sores all over his body from skin infections. His ability to move was restricted by the matted hair attaching his legs to his stomach and his head to his chest.

Tracy cuddles the poodle with the
string around his foot
There was also the black and white Maltese whose eyes were basically matted shut, preventing him from being able to see much, if anything at all. He was sent to a veterinarian, along with my chocolate dog mentioned previously and a few other severe cases, to be sedated for grooming/shaving in an attempt to minimize the stress and the potential discomfort of removing the large quantities of matted hair covering their bodies. In addition, there were other dogs who had injuries requiring surgery, like the black toy poodle with a string wrapped around his foot so tightly that it was embedded in his skin and could not be removed without surgery; we hope he will keep his foot, but watching his resiliency during the entire exam, this little guy is a survivor, no matter what happened to him.    

Sloan Smith with a dog prior
to grooming
We also did our own sort of “grooming” for those dogs needing quick attention to relieve the discomfort of their matted limbs. Sloan Smith, groomer extraordinaire (not necessarily by choice) and local volunteer, shaved while I held and comforted several dogs that needed some quick relief. Though we are pretty certain we should keep our day jobs, we did give some dramatic relief to a few dogs that needed to relieve themselves of about 50 percent of their body weight in useless hair.   

And five pounds of fur later!
All in all, it was a good day. We got all of the dogs (and our token kitty) vetted, and began the road to recovery for those that needed health care and those that needed to feel the love of a human being for the first time in their lives.

I am continually amazed by the UAN volunteers… these are people from so many walks of life who come together to do one thing… bring these animals out of crisis and into care… and they do it with such love, enthusiasm and skill that I am in complete and total awe. Thanks to all of you!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ninety-Eight Dogs and One Cat Rescued from Tennessee Puppy Mill

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Greetings from Lewisburg, Tennessee where United Animal Nations (UAN) volunteers from four states have just assisted The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department in liberating and sheltering 98 dogs and one cat from a puppy mill.
EARS volunteer Tracy Clark
from Cookeville, TN

Five UAN volunteers, myself included, assisted in Wednesday’s seizure after the Marshall County Sheriff convinced the owner to voluntarily surrender the animals, while the remaining UAN volunteers set up the shelter in a small but adequate area of a municipal building.

EARS volunteer Angel Zebraski
from Hampton, GA
The dogs are primarily small breeds: poodles, Chihuahuas, maltese, shih tzus, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and various mixes, as well as two golden retrievers and a Great Pyrenees mountain dog. They were housed in assorted buildings on a rural property with the breeding dogs in a large barn-like facility with no heat and little natural sunlight. As is typical in puppy mill situations, the animals are in horrific condition, many so filthy and matted you can’t see their eyes, ears, mouth or feet. The mats are so thick and out of control they appeared to be limbs. Many have severe eye ailments, some have missing eyes, and a great number have little or no teeth. The dogs will soon be thoroughly checked by a veterinarian to determine any other injuries and ailments.

The process of getting the dogs to the HSUS vehicle was quite convoluted, as the buildings they were housed in sat a good distance from the road, up a very steep, narrow and winding dirt road, which had turned quite muddy from the previous days’ torrential downpour. Needless to say, it was impossible to get the HSUS transport vehicle up this road, so as each dog was removed from its cage, it was passed to a UAN handler, who took it to the intake station for numbering and a quick health check, then placed it in a cage on a small local Animal Control truck, driven down the hill to be removed by another handler and placed into a cage on the transport vehicle. Once the transport vehicle got to the temporary shelter, each dog was moved once more into its temporary home where it will remain until it is sent to an adoption shelter.

Most of the dogs were surprisingly comfortable being handled; in fact, it almost seemed like they knew what was happening and were patiently waiting their turn. Two dogs who were loose on the property even tried to climb into the back of the Animal Control vehicle on their own.

We are all already finding our favorites. One dog touched us all deeply, a poodle mix that was so matted you weren’t sure which end you were looking at. He was so scared, yet he kept coming to the edge of the cage just to get touched; we really couldn’t tell whether we were touching him or the matted twines of his hair. The Cavalier King Charles spaniels are already stealing everyone’s hearts with their sweet temperaments, and the tiny Chihuahuas are quickly showing some huge personalities. And of course, our three large dogs have got us all doing their bidding.

We are looking forward to getting to know all of our little charges over the next few days.

Volunteers Travel from Four States to Rescue and Care for Nearly 100 Dogs from Tennessee Puppy Mill

United Animal Nations provides critical temporary sheltering support for rescue mission
A little timid at first

(February 2, 2011) – United Animal Nations (UAN) has deployed volunteers from four states to rescue and care for nearly 100 dogs living in unsanitary conditions without proper socialization and medical care from a Lewisburg, Tenn. property. All of the animals have been surrendered by the owner to the custody of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. 

This dog's fur is so severely matted
that only the tongue and shiny nose
prove this is the face of a dog
This case began when an anonymous tipper contacted the sheriff about the welfare of the dogs. The Tennessee Department of Health’s Animal Welfare Division also found violations of cruelty laws at the facility during a routine inspection. When rescuers from UAN, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene this morning they found 98 dogs, mostly poodles and other small breeds, living crowded amongst their own feces in small wire enclosures.
All of the animals are being safely removed and transported to an emergency shelter where they will be examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care. United Animal Nations and The HSUS will assist with the daily care of the animals until they are transported to partner shelters for evaluation and adoption. PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief Waggin’® program donated supplies to the sheltering effort.
UAN volunteers are on hand to give
love and care to the rescued dogs

 “These animals were not getting the veterinary care or attention they needed to be happy and healthy, as is typically the case in these mass breeding operations,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies, who traveled from California to manage the temporary shelter for the rescued dogs. “UAN volunteers are trained to provide critical support in such cases and will give these animals kind human contact for the first time in their lives and prepare them for a better life in loving new homes.”

Thank you, EARS volunteers!
Distinguished by their red shirts, UAN volunteers are specially trained to care for animals at temporary shelters after they have been rescued from cruelty and neglect situations or displaced by natural disasters. Twelve UAN volunteers have traveled from Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and California to care for the animals at the temporary shelter, and five more will arrive over the next few days. UAN has nearly 3,000 active volunteers in the United States and Canada, including 73 in Tennessee, and provides its services free of charge to the community.

Suzie with one of the
three large breed dogs
This is the third time in 15 months that UAN has deployed volunteers to care for animals rescued from cruelty situations in Tennessee. In April, 2010, UAN sent 18 volunteers to care for more than 200 neglected dogs in Sparta. In November 2009, UAN sent more than 50 volunteers to Nashville to care for 84 horses who had been rescued from near starvation in Cannon County. In the last two years, UAN volunteers sheltered and cared for approximately 2,925 animals rescued from twelve puppy mills in the U.S. and Canada. A puppy mill is a large-scale breeding operation where animals are housed in unlawful conditions without proper food, water, socialization and veterinary care. Dogs bred in puppy mills are typically sold at pet stores, through classified advertisements and over the Internet.  

Cuddling up with Jen
* Learn more about puppy mills on our Web site at
* Support our work in Tennessee by donating to our Disaster Relief Fund -