Thursday, April 29, 2010

Puppy Emergency!!!!

Here we are again.  Begging for your help.  ALL of our puppies have managed to contract a new strain of parvo. Our doctors are working feverishly to pull them out of it, but we've already lost 3 of them in the last 24 hours and 5 more are seriously ill.  ALL of these puppies were up to date on routine vaccinations including DHLPP which protects against parvo.  This has hit them fast and hard and nothing we are doing is working.  It is spreading rapidly through all of our puppies and our vet bills are again enormously high.

We need your help!!!  Without the funds to pay the vets, there is no way we can pull these puppies out of it.  We can only help them as far as our funds will take us.  Every little bit helps.

Please consider donating just a small amount to help cover the cost of treatment for these little guys/gals.  You can contribute by donating via Chip-in on our website or blog.  You can also visit our website and make a donation via our donate button.

Rest in peace Bo, Daphny, and Jax.  We're sorry we couldn't pull you through.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Our main contact and foster home for getting dogs out of Robeson County lost everything last night in a fire.  Her home, her belongs and many animals.  She was able to save a lot of her animals but in the process sustained multiple injuries including a cut on her arm requiring 20+ stitches and 2nd degree burns on her head, face and arms.

Because of everything she has done to save these animals and to help our rescues, we feel obligated to return the favor.  We are now turning the funds received for Pennies for Puppies into a relief fund to help her get back on her feet and to provide care/boarding for the animals she saved.  If you can donate any money or supplies it would be much appreciated.  She only escaped with her pajamas.  She lost everything else.  The red cross is providing some assistance in helping her find a place to live, but they can only provide so much.

At this point we are looking for the following:

  • Dog/cat food (all was stored in her home and was lost as well)
  • Clothing, Shoes, toiletries, etc (Will find out the size and edit this post)
  • Home supplies including but not limited to linens, pots, etc.
  • Gas cards (She now has to drive more than 20 miles each way to care for the animals where they are currently.
  • Any amount of money that can help her pay for day to day expenses.
This isn't something we, as a rescue, would typically raise money for, but she has been an unbelievable help in saving animals from Robeson County.  She's made as many as 2-3 trips per day to the shelter to get animals and assure they are safe.  When she's not working her own job, she spends every second with rescue work.  This is the least we can do for what she has done for us.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Breaking News from Robeson

The DEA showed up at Robeson County Animal Shelter and they had their licenses and certs pulled and they are no longer able to do euthanasia!!!! Also, They will be implementing new rules and training in NC -including compassion fatigue- for all workers.

Cooper is safe and looking for his forever home.

Cooper is a young lab mix puppy who was rescued from Robeson County. These are most of the dogs that we get from there. Happy dogs, puppies who want nothing more than someone to love them. Can you help us give other dogs like Cooper a chance?

Cooper is available for adoption from MJ's Animal Sanctuary.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meet Yardley

Yardley was recently rescued from Robeson County Shelter.   He had been there for at least 5 days in excruciating pain with a ruptured eye.

Once he was rescued, he received immediate vet care and is doing much better and in no visible pain.  This is Yardley now.

We've made some progress!!!

Robeson County Shelter has decided to allow the donation of beds that will be put into the pens with all the mamas and babies.  This is wonderful news!!!  Especially for the mama's who've had to have their newborns on the cold cement floor.

While this is wonderful progress, there is still a long way to go.  There are several changes that we and other rescues feel would make a tremendous difference for the dogs and shelter staff as well as rescues pulling dogs from there.

Here are some ideas:

1.  Adoption Availability

The hardest part for all of us is finding out what dogs are available.  Examples of how other shelters (Bladen, Columbus and some in Georgia) work include:

(a) dogs are all kept until 1 day of the week and everyone knows that as D-Day.  It gives us time to organize, get volunteers to the shelter to pull a large quantity of dogs, and we can identify which dogs are there.  It also helps with you and others taking pictures!
(b)  Bladen actually keeps all dogs alive until every single kennel is full.  From what Jeff and Leroy have told us and many others, they don’t ever get to capacity.  They actually define capacity as 50% or 50 kennels full. 
(c)  Some shelter volunteer coordinators take the dogs into their own homes/facilities and “foster” them while they are also posted online.  This helps us know the dogs are safe and healthy.  The current 2006 RCAC Procedures actually allow for this.  Although they are revising the procedures this week so who knows.  It is a great help for us if we can’t meet up with the local volunteer until the weekend, which happens with many rescues as they are volunteer forces and work during the week.
(d) Local vets and shelter volunteers will work together to take in dogs, provide boarding at cost, provide shots needed for transport, and allow the rescue transports to pick up the dogs from the vet (after we know the dogs are safe and sound).

2.  Petfinder Info Availability

The petfinder page should include (a) information on how and where to submit 501c3 paperwork and (b) provide a fax number.  This would allow more rescues to become registered, reduce phone calls to the shelter, and provide a mechanism for dogs who would be killed in the am from dying.

For example, in Rome, Georgia’s shelter there is a fax number that is widely distributed to rescues and you can fax in the dog’s id number and your 501c3 to show the shelter that you are claiming the dog and a legitimate rescue.  It works great and many weeks the shelter (it is very rural) is cleared out and no one dies.

3.  Donations

Many shelters take in several donations from the public.  It helps to keep costs in check and eliminates the lack of resources as a reason to put down animals.  This weekend I delivered 40 pounds of dog food for Bladen.  Many of our contacts have tried to deliver to Robeson and have been denied.

4.  Cross-posting

There are several people in the animal community who you and Jean could work with to get the information and pictures about available dogs disseminated.  They have large email list serves and send out urgent please to hundreds of rescues/individuals each night.  They include:
-- Tami Pal

Facebook pages have also been started and they are a great resource for posting new pictures to get the information out.

5.  Rescue Book for Shelter

As Beata has mentioned, our 501c3 paperwork has disappeared on multiple occasions.  I had an entire email exchange with Jeff regarding this.  I ended up forwarding him an email he had already received that contained all of our paperwork.  Bladen actually has a record that is kept with the shelter and the shelter volunteer has relations with many of the rescues that pull from there.  It makes the process very easy and ensures our paperwork remains in place.

6.  Make Publicly Available all Current RCAC Procedures

I am currently trying to pin down the current RCAC Procedures with Bill Smith.  I have the 2006 version and am told that they are being updated this week.  The 2006 procedures, which appear to be the current procedures in place, do not match up with the policies being expounded by shelter staff.  Examples include (a) 48 adoption period for the animals, (b) when euthanasia may take place, (c) how the non-owner release (120 hour) time period should be calculated, (d) when live traps can be used, (e) fostering for animals that may be injured or sick, (f) vet care, (g) capacity requirements, etc. 

There are several procedures that differ from the procedures shelter staff quote to us when we visit.  This makes both parties have an incredibly difficult time understanding what is the actual “rules of the road” for adopting/rescuing animals.  In light of all the attention on Robeson, making these publicly available would reduce tensions and allow both parties to have an outline of what the rules of the road should be.

If you would like to help us but don't have any money to donate to the cause, a simple email or phone call could make a tremendous difference.  We just have one request:  BE NICE!!!  The more phone calls/emails that the shelter receives that include threats or demands or other not so nice attitudes only makes the problem worse.  They can take it out on the animals by either hurting them or not allowing us to rescue them.  Sending emails which ask them to please accept donations or offer of assistance would go a long way.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A first hand account from a rescue volunteer

My name is Rachelle Dudgeon. Some know me as Shelly Dudgeon. I work with PuppyPorch Rescue based out of St. Paul, MN. My statement below is based on a trip my husband and I took to North Carolina January 19-20 to rescue dogs from Robeson County Shelter. 

My trip started because of several pleas of help that were on the internet the weekend of the 16-17 for a dog named Daisy Mae and her very tiny newborn puppies. These pleas prompted me to view Robeson’s Petfinder links. When on petfinder my heart sank as the condition of the dogs and the facility were unacceptable by every standard. I spent the weekend placing ads in the area to see if any rescues were going to save these dogs that week. Monday morning I called to the shelter and an older black gentleman answered the phone. At that time I requested the status of several dogs and asked if he knew if any rescues would be coming in the next couple days. He confirmed all the dogs were still in the facility and what their available date would be. When I inquired about Daisy Mae I was told she was available on January 19. I was told at that time to call the next morning and speak with Jeff the shelter Manager. Also that he was not aware of any other rescues coming but Jeff may be.

Later that day my husband and I decided to drop everything, rent a trailer, and drive 1200 miles to NC. We felt we didn’t have enough confirmation on rescue status and if we didn’t leave Minnesota by 4pm we wouldn’t make it by close the next day.

When we were about 2 hours from the shelter we received a call that the shelter was not releasing any dogs.

Upon arriving at the Robeson Shelter on January 19, 2010 we were greeted in the parking lot by Angela from another rescue in New York. I asked her the status of her rescue and she told me Jeff was not allowing her to take dogs. I walked into the shelter, approached Jeff, and introduced myself. At that time he walked the kennels with us and let us know which dogs were available for immediate rescue. I believe it totaled 16 dogs and 1 cat. He let us know what we needed for paperwork and agreed to let the dogs spend the night as the rest of the dogs were not available till the next day.

We left the actual facility and spent some time out in the parking lot with people from the community that were there to help. While in the parking lot a U-Haul truck drove in. It was being driven by Angela from the rescue in New York. By the way she drove we thought there was a serious problem. She went into the shelter and later came out with a corgi/ Chihuahua tucked under her arm. She was trying very hard to hide it from us. I knew that dog didn’t have a release date for 5 days as it came in on the 19th with a Dachshund and they were in the same kennel. I checked and rechecked the paper work as I wanted to pull them. We thought that to be very peculiar. She got in the truck and left with the dog. Jeff came out locked the door and went into the office.

We spent the night in a hotel and met Jeff Promptly at 8 am to retrieve the dogs we pulled the prior day. Jeff had worked on our paperwork and we started to load dogs. During this time Leroy and Fletcher moved dogs to the open kennels across from each dogs kennel and started to spray out the dirty kennels. One of the men approached Jeff and asked him about the small dog that was in the kennel with the Dachshund. He told him “I know that dog was there yesterday as I finished his paperwork and put it on his kennel myself.” Jeff response was “I don’t know it must have been stolen if it isn’t in the kennel and the paperwork is gone.” That dog was not stolen. Jeff gave it to Angela after hours and disposed of the paperwork obviously. While cleaning kennels the poop went every where as they stood behind the kennels with a hose spraying towards the drain. As we unloaded dogs we had to walk through poop and pee to get to our vehicle. There was never any sign of any kind of cleaner or beach being used at all. The dogs in the kennels across the isle were getting the over spray from the hoses and being covered in the poop and water. We had all of our dogs out and paperwork done between 9-9:30am.

When we were done I approached Jeff about a very skinny mother dog and her young litter of pups. I had asked Jeff if he minded that I fed her a bowl of puppy food to help her put back on some weight as she was deathly skinny. He agreed and I left the building to go get the food from my truck. Upon re entering the building I saw no one. I walked down to the mother’s kennel to feed her. No one was still to be seen. She was housed in the 10th kennel on the far left from the front door of the shelter. I went in, bent down inside kennel, and started to feed her. She was so hungry she actually attacked her starving puppies when they approached her food. I was moving puppies away from her when I heard 2 men talking as they walked down the right side isle. I heard them enter a kennel and then make the statement “Now suffer on this you son of a bitch.” I thought I heard wrong so I stood up and looked over in the direction they were. They were in the 12th kennel on the far right from the front door. They had a pole in their hand and were jabbing something. Then I heard the most horrific screams from an animal that I have ever heard in my whole life. The men sat over the dog and laughed as it screamed in pain for about 1-2 minutes. Honestly it felt like 10 minutes. I hurried up and crouched back down in the kennel as I didn’t want them to see me. I heard them drag the dog off. I waited a minute before I quietly tried to exit the kennel and sneak out the side door of the shelter. When I was at the very last section of kennels I heard a much panicked voice yell to me asking me if I was finished in the shelter. I replied I was and Jeff asked if I would shut the door behind me. When I walked outside my husband had looked like he was crying. He asked and I said yes. We knew what each other were saying without even using the words. He then asked if Jeff would let us take out the skinny mom and I told I didn’t ask but to go in and try to work some magic. When he entered the building from the side door he walked down to the far isle way to see if he could find Jeff. At that moment he saw the 2 men walking down the isle with about a 3 foot pole in one of their hands. When the men noticed my husband they hurried up and hid the pole and quickly walked off to the entrance hallway of the shelter. Jeff came out and Paul yelled to him asking to speak with him. Jeff approached and Paul asked if we could pull the mom and get her to the vet. He told us he could not let us as her hold time was not up till Monday. He attempted everything but we didn’t want to risk the dogs we were getting later that day so Paul left the shelter closing the side door behind him.

The next 5-10 minutes were horrible. We had to sit outside and listen to someone inside the shelter put dogs down. They screamed one after another, 3 maybe 4 of them possibly more as it was hard to tell after the first 3 since they were screaming simultaneously. There was absolutely no physical possibility that sedation was used. Sedation takes time to set in. Between the times I was in the shelter and my husband we never saw anyone take a dog out of a kennel and bring it any where to be sedated nor did they go into any kennel and start sedation there. The time between when we shut the door and the first scream was no more the 2 minutes making it impossible for them to use the sedation properly. I knew which dog they put down when I was in the kennel but never figured out which dogs they put down when we were outside. My husband and I took out every dog that had an available date but one as he wouldn’t allow us in his kennel to help him.

I figured one was a dog that came in after being hit by a car. It had an obvious broken leg and pelvis. It came in on the 19th when we were at the shelter. The dog catcher pulled it out of his dog box while on a catch pole. Let it slam to the concrete floor as it couldn’t use its back legs at all. He then drug it to its kennel which couldn’t have been any further from where he parked his truck. This poor dog sat in the kennel in obvious pain. We begged Jeff to let us take it to the vet and were denied every time. It needed to be put down that moment or in surgery. Leaving it like that was animal cruelty. Jeff assured us he would be putting it down that night after every one left. Why wait if he puts them down properly? He never put the dog down as it was there the next morning when we arrived. We assumed it was one he put down when we were outside but upon arrival at 3 pm that afternoon the dog was still sitting in the same kennel in the same position. That means it sat in that shelter for 24 hours like this. I can’t even explain how cruel that is. We never figured out what dogs he did put down that morning.

That afternoon we came back to pull the rest of the available dogs as their exact 120 hours was not up so we couldn’t have access to them till after 4 pm. When we arrived we drove around to the side door. We were greeted by a clean cut gentleman who claimed to be the Robeson County Animal Cruelty investigator. He asked what we thought about the facility and we told him. He brought up the heart sticking and claimed they used sedation and I told him no way did they use it. I also told him who I saw do it. He assured me that one of the men and Jeff are licensed vet techs. He also talked about how his wife and he got a grant for low cost spay and neuter for the county. He then entered the building and went over to the desk where all the men but Jeff were gathered. There was Leroy, Fletcher, 3 dog catchers and himself. They were all talking when I walking in. At that moment I heard him tell the 2 men that I saw them do it. That I know they didn’t use sedation. I just walked nonchalantly over to some puppies so we could start loading them up. I never once discussed with anyone at the shelter what I had seen except this one man. We continued to load up the rest of the dogs and then leave the facility so we could go over to Bladen County and pick up a couple dogs that were waiting for us there. The conditions there were much better, probably because they have a volunteer that actually cares about the animals instead of the men that work in the facility.

I am disgusted with the quality of care that these animals receive while in this shelter. No normal sane humane being could ever treat an animal in this manner. It is repulsive to me. People that run shelters should love animals and want to see the best for them. Robeson county Shelter has the opportunity to be a great facility but do to the treatment of staff it is considered one of the worse in the country. People are aware of what is going on as far as Canada and even France. I have started to write my day in Robeson County shelter to many large tv personal. I also wrote to the speaker of the House for North Carolina and to the Reps for Robeson County. I will not stop till changes are made for the animals of North Carolina. This also includes Shelters like Gaston who feel that throwing a bunch of animals in a gas chamber is humane. What scares me the most is that these people get pleasure from treating the animals this way! From Leroy and Fletcher who laughed as they killed a dog and it screamed in pain. To the dog catchers who laugh when they place a catch pole around a dogs neck and carry it, choking it the whole way to a kennel. To Jeff who allows all of this to happen under his roof and does it too. This is what we see as the stepping stones of serial killers. They are people who feel pleasure in killing and abusing. To think that this shelter has a budget of almost $500,000 a year and these employees are getting paid how much of tax payers dollars to run it. It is time the tax payers get a say in how this shelter is run and by who as the current staff shouldn’t even be allowed to own an animal let alone run a facility full of them. You to should be embarrassed and disgusted at the reputation your facility has across this country. These dogs are barely fed and given fresh water. They are so skinny it makes a normal person cry. They are left in dirty kennels and they sleep in their food bowls just to get out of it. Mothers give birth on concrete floors with no help and their tiny babies have no place to get warm. Temperatures there dropped to 37 degrees the night we were there which means that the concrete was unbearably cold for any dog let alone newborn puppies. Parvo is infested in that place and every dog or puppy is exposed the second they walk in the door. We lost at least 16 puppies to Parvo and it cost about $3000.00 to try and save only 8 of them. The others were at other rescues. Dogs are being put down even when over half the facility is sitting empty. Not only that only 1/3 of the facility actually has kennels yet 2/3 sit wide open for the men to pull their trucks in and BS with each other instead of working. Another 80+ kennels could have fit in there and with $500,000 a year budget the county could have afforded it plus the food and water for those extra dogs. Also this facility has perfect space to have been built with indoor/outdoor runs for all the adult dogs and inside kennels for the puppies. This would have helped eliminate the need to clean as much as most dogs would go outside to the bathroom keeping the facility more sanitary. There was also a whole room that could have been set up with about 50 kennels for cats that only had 1 cat in it.

What this shelter needs is a whole new staff with love for the animals and knowledge that is selected by the community not the county.