Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day #2: Madison County Cats

Thank you to Marcia Goodman, RedRover Responders volunteer and Communications Assistant, for these reflections on the second day of this response.

.Is it really just Day 2 of the RedRover deployment to Jacksonville, Florida? The volunteers feel as though it’s been at least a week!

Today was another long and hectic day here at the temporary emergency animal shelter for cats rescued from the Caboodle Ranch in Lee, Florida. As RedRover and other agencies moved into daily care mode, the ASPCA continued to trap and transport to the shelter more and more cats from the ranch. The current total at the shelter is now nearly 700, with still more to come. Many more cats are being trapped each night and transported to the shelter – representing hope for each cat to have a good and safe new life.

The volunteers haven’t been able to spend socialization time yet with the cats because our emphasis has been on implementing the processes for the daily care of this huge number of cats: ensuring that they have safe, clean, comfortable housing, with regular feedings and water, all while absorbing the daily arrival of more cats from the ranch to the shelter.

While we are providing the daily care, cats are continually transferred within the shelter to one of the medical units for triage, examination and treatment. The shelter is a hubbub of activity. Many of the cats have exhibited signs of neglect and had upper respiratory infections, skin conditions and eye infections among other medical issues. It’s hard to be patient for time to socialize with the cats, but, as RedRover Emergency Services Manager Beth Gammie put it, we have to remember that this is just Day 2.

RedRover has been receiving very positive feedback from the ASPCA about our volunteers. For example, at a full staff/volunteer briefing, our volunteer Amy McMahon was singled out for her excellent work as a “runner” for the medical team. ASPCA, as lead agency in this rescue, continues to emphasize their appreciation for all our volunteers, and we appreciate them as well.

In future days, as we have some time to socialize with cats, we’ll start to highlight some of them in this blog. As always, the RedRover volunteers bring different sets of experiences to this deployment, and we’ll highlight some of those too. For a few volunteers, this is their first deployment, and we’ll ask them what this experience means to them.

So, stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cats of Madison County

This blog entry was written by Marcia Goodman, RedRover Responders volunteer and Communications Assistant as she reflected on the first day of deployment.

Every RedRover deployment is different, and the current rescue of cats from Madison County, Florida is no exception.

For starters, it's huge. By the end of the first day, 200 cats have been rescued, but that's just the beginning. Because all the cats ran loose on the property, there's no certainty in the estimate of the total number of cats who will be rescued, but it may reach as many as 700.

RedRover Responders volunteer Diane prepares litter boxes for the hundreds of cats rescued in Madison County, Florida.
The other big difference from most other deployments is in the number of different animal rescue organizations that are involved in the rescue and management of the shelter. RedRover is partnering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), PetSmart Charities, the Florida State Animal Response Coalition, and three other organizations. There are many people on this deployment.

The first day of this huge undertaking was amazing, especially given the size and complexity of the operation. There was lots of communication: during the day, ASPCA held five briefings for all staff and volunteers, and we all worked together very well. In that way, it's been like all RedRover deployments – people are here for the animals, all wanting to support each other because it's good for animals (and makes us feel good, too!).

This first day also entailed lots of work, which is also typical of RedRover deployments. RedRover volunteers put together cages and then more cages and then more cages. Then we unloaded cats from the ASPCA rig and carried them to their new temporary homes at the emergency shelter. Then we put together more cages and then more cages and then more cages. We arrived at the shelter at 7:30 AM and left at 8:30 PM. At the end of the day, our bodies were sore, but our spirits were soaring at the excitement of helping to create hopeful new lives for so many cats.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RedRover Responders in Eastland, Texas

RedRover has deployed nearly two-dozen volunteers to operate a temporary shelter in Eastland County, Texas where over 110 animals were seized from a local breeding operation.

In an effort coordinated by the Eastland Police Department and the Eastland County Sherriff’s Office, 100 dogs, 8 rats and 2 turtles were seized from deplorable conditions on private property within the city limits of Eastland and later in the day, at a rural site in Eastland County.

RedRover was asked to send volunteers to the temporary shelter by the City of Eastland. The rescue was set in motion after Eastland officials received tips about allegedly cruel conditions and neglected animals in need of veterinary care.

All of the animals were safely removed and transported to the emergency shelter, where they will be examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care.

Read more on the story and watch a video interview with RedRover Responders volunteers:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wagging Tails in Rowan County, Kentucky

Nine RedRover Responders volunteers just completed a week of caring for 136 dogs and puppies rescued from a puppy mill in Rowan County, Kentucky. This was the second time RedRover Responders deployed to this emergency shelter to assist the ASPCA in caring for these dogs.

These animals were seized over four months ago, in October 2011, and their owner has been charged with over 40 counts of animal cruelty. As the case proceeded through the criminal justice system, these recovering dogs and puppies needed tender, loving care and socialization – and that is where the RedRover Responders volunteers came in.

RedRover Responders volunteer Julie goes for a walk with Nell, one of 136 dogs rescued from a puppy mill in Rowan County, Kentucky.
 The small-breed dogs, mainly Chihuahuas, dachshunds, Min Pins and poodles, enjoyed the daily care that the RedRover Responders volunteers provided: feeding, watering, walking and socializing the animals, along with the ever present cage-cleaning duty. RedRover Responders volunteer Jodi Jenkins, from Bardstown, Kentucky, said, “Everyone was willing to do anything that was asked of them – it didn’t matter what it was, they did it because it was for the welfare of the animals.”

This was Jodi’s second deployment with RedRover Responders to Rowan County; she also answered the call to help these animals in October 2011. The care the animals received is paying off, and the change in their condition is noticeable. Jodi noticed that the animals had gained weight, seemed healthier and their fear had lessened. “I saw more wagging tails this time around,” she added.

Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team, had nothing but gratitude for the RedRover Responders volunteers who staffed the shelter this past week. Tim remarked, “The ASPCA is grateful to have RedRover Responders on the ground assisting with daily sheltering operations. RedRover is an invaluable partner who has helped us since shortly after we took on this case, and we’re thankful for their dedication and commitment to caring for these animals.”

Caring for the animals – that is what RedRover Responders volunteers do. That is who we are.

A few RedRover Responders volunteers pose for the camera.

Additional resources: