Thursday, October 27, 2011

A day in the life of a Cruelty Investigator

Today I had to wear a different hat.  Today I wasn't the head pooper scooper, mange manager, or keeper of the kibble. Today, I was the cruelty investigator for the Humane Society of LA - Livingston Chapter.  While my training and experience with dogs has made me stronger, one NEVER gets over seeing a dog nearly starved to death ON PURPOSE.  From time to time we find hunting hounds that have been either abandoned or lost in dreadful shape, but I rarely see an animal in such a condition in the backyard of a home in a nice neighborhood.  This home had boats, swing sets, and other "toys" around to indicate the family had means.  The yard was nice and tidy, the grass cut, and everything looked normal until you drove around to the side where a utility road abutted the property.  There was a dog in a pen.  A skeleton in a pen would be a better description.

I called the sheriff's office to have an officer meet me.  Once he saw the dog he agreed that the dog had to be taken today.  So he issued a Seizure Order and I took the dog to the vet.  At the vet, his body condition score was 1.  This is the lowest score possible.  His body temperature was 97.6. He is anemic,  mildly heartworm positive, full of hook worms and fleas, has a yeast infection in his ears, and a wound on his left front leg. The vet said there is no medical reason for the dog to be this thin.  The only reason for the condition of the dog is starvation. Yet, through all of this, this sweet dog just wanted to sit in my lap.  He weighs 39 pounds and he should weigh 65!!!

The poor dog will remain at the vet for 15 days.  The owner has that amount of time to contact the sheriff's office to claim the dog.  He will be given a summons for simple animal cruelty.  The most likely outcome is that the owner will surrender the dog to avoid going to jail or receiving a guilty verdict. The police officer is going to try to make it impossible for the owner to get the dog back. I will go to court to ask the judge to release the dog to the Humane Society.  If this does happen, we will need to raise money to pay the bill.

If any of you would like to help, please contact Dodge City Animal Hospital, 225-664-6441.  The dog's name is Buster.  Please tell them you want to contribute toward Buster's care.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Okay, I'm over being mad - A level head now prevails!!!

After much prayer, I have decided not to try to up the charges against my neighbor.  While the man acted in a totally unacceptable manner and is cold hearted, I do not want him to have a felony on his record. His actions were despicable, but his wife and family are good people.  I don't want them harmed by his inability to work.  So, I will ask the district attorney to negotiate a deal where the offender gets a psychological evaluation and does community service in lieu of upping the charges.  Hopefully this will put this matter behind us.  I have so many awesome dogs that depend on our care that I cannot let this overwhelm me.

And speaking of awesome dogs..... we have Lilly, a sweet, practically housebroken, little pit mix.  She is just the best puppy I've had in a long time.  She was found by a wonderful lady in Baton Rouge at her work place.  Lilly was cold, underweight, and had a skin rash.  The sweet lady took her to the vet, got her shots, some meds for the skin problem, and bought her tons of stuff!! For the month that she was nurtured back to health, Lilly received the best of care and lots of love.  Lilly's bed, toys, chew bones, food, leash, collar, etc. came with her to Swampy Paws. She is enjoying being with the other puppies and loves to play tug of war with Shadow.  Lilly doesn't bark, doesn't chew on your finger or toes, doesn't whine about being in the crate, and doesn't mind sharing her toys with her canine friends.  She is truly an AWESOME little lady!!

Do you remember our little Corgi/Chi mixes?  Well, we had one of them returned to us when I insisted on having her spayed.  The family who originally adopted her agreed to have her spayed when she was old enough.  When I called to give them the date, they said they wanted to let her have a litter of puppies.  I reminded them that our Adoption Agreement did not allow this.  So, rather than letting her have the surgery, they decided to return her.  Sophie is 4 1/2 month old and is potty pad trained.  We are working on her socialization skills.  Sometimes she doesn't want to share!!!  She loves to cuddle on your shoulder.  She has recently been spayed, so in a week or two she will be ready for adoption.  Sophie will require an experienced dog family who can continue to work on her "selfish attitude"!

Introducing ROCKY.  Originally Rocky and two of his friends came to Swampy Paws when their owner needed to reduce the number of dogs in her household.  The very first day Rocky escaped!  We searched but to no avail.  We found the other two, but Rocky evaded us.  We would put out food and call, but he would not come to us.  We would chase him through the field with no luck.  Finally, we set a live trap and caught him five days later!  He was frightened, so I just let him take his time coming out of the trap.  It took almost an hour for him to exit.  Once he was out, he was friendly and just wanted to eat a good meal. 

After a few hours of rest, he was ready to go outside.  I could not trust him on the deck again, so we started walking.  He walked on a leash so well!  He was a bit nervous, so I let him sleep with me the first night.  Well, he soon because my velcro dog!  He wants to be where I am at all times.  He follows me throughout the house and is not happy when I leave.  He has settled down a bit and has adjusted to the crate at night.
Rocky was doggie door trained, but he will need to be watched carefully in a new environment.  He has tried to mark a crate or two, but when corrected, he stops immediately and looks up as if to say, "Oh, I forgot".  He is so sweet.  He will make a wonderful addition to any family. 

Don't forget, Friday night at the Denham Springs Petco - Adoption Event from 5 to 7 pm.

Friday, October 14, 2011

JOJO Is a Victim of Animal Cruelty

I am so upset  can barely type.  Our sweet energetic JOJO was shot my by neighbor, Mr. Gary Quave, at 2 pm yesterday.  Below is the explanation of what happened that I sent to the Dead Pelican.  I also intend to send this to other newspaper outlets.  Feel free to pass this along to let the public know what we will not tolerate this behavior.

JoJo was a lab mix, female, about 10 months old and weighed approximately 25 pounds.  She was sweet, energetic, and a fence jumper so she was always inside so I could train her to be a great house dog for a future owner.  While I was cleaning kennels, I let her out into the yard.. She wandered off to a neighbors house. She was not off my property for more than 10 minutes when I heard a gun shot extrememly close to my house.  I ran to where it came from and saw my neighbor crouching down and carrying something black into the woods. I asked him if everything was okay.  He said yes.  I looked around and no JOJO,  I called her.  She did not come.  She was the most reliable dog I had for recall.  I ran to the woods where I saw him throw something.  I found her body. He was getting into his running truck when I confronted him.  He said he didn't know it was my dog and that she had growled and snarled at him.  He said he thought she was a stray. I did not hear her bark or growl or him hollering at a dog to chase it off and I was 75 to 100' away.  He is lying. He just shot her in the head with a shotgun at close range.  I've never had a complaint from this man about any of our dogs. I do not let any of them roam free nor do they bark excessively. Even the police officer said she never hears the dogs barking when she makes her daily ride through our area. From his demeanor when he was taking her into the woods, I know he thought I might see him.  Now I am afraid he might do something to my other dogs. He knew we operated a rescue and his grown son even had one of our labs on a trial basis.  Why didn't he just yell and ask me if she was one of our rescues?   He clearly knew I was in the yard with the dogs. The only answer to that question is that he intended to kill her.
He was given a summons for simple cruelty to animals.  He was not charged with aggravated cruelty eventhough I believe it was malicious intent. He was only given a warning for discharging a weapon inside the city limits.  I was given a summons for a dog at large - no warning ticket.  I have never been cited for this offense so as a first time offense one would think I should have received a warning. This is a rural area.  I have 12 acres and at no time do I allow a dog to roam. 
I am afraid the local police department and judge will not take this seriously.  If this man thinks it is okay to just shoot a dog at point blank range then I fear he will do it again.  He should have been given a summons for a weapons charge.  He is a quiet man with a family who has a job and pastors a church.  He may seem like a mild manner fellow, but I have serious doubts about his mental status.  I think the law requires a psychological evaluation when someone is convicted of cruelty to animals. I need the press to push for this because I am afraid to live next door to the lunatic.  The court date is 11/28/11 at 6 pm at the Killian town hall.
I don't know if you can help, but I would like the public to know what happened.  I want the local police department to know that the public is watching and will not tolerate this kind of behavior.  I want the judge to know we expect more than a slap on the wrist.  But most of all, I want my JOJO back.  That will never happen because this lunatic took her life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homes found for Mr. Beagle, Pumpkin, Happy, and Sheeba!!!

Yahoooooo.....  This past weekend was a huge success.  We were able to find homes for 4 of our smaller dogs.  I have to admit I miss Mr. Beagle.  He was my couch potato snuggle buddy.  Pumpkin and Happy have families of their own and Sheeba is with a couple that have a few grand children as her playmates.   I just knew Lucky would find a home, but unfortunately he will have to wait.

On Thursday I take the General to Mississippi to meet the transport to the East Coast.  It has been a challenge to get all the paperwork and additional tests done to meet the requirements for transport.  He had to have a lyme and erhlichia test in addition to the normal stuff.  At least we will soon be able to put the kennels back together so Jupiter and Willow will have their space back. 

Don't forget - Friday night adoptions at the Petco in Denham Springs then Saturday at Tractor Supply in Hammond.  I was buying dog food today at Tractor Supply and the manager there brought out a big box of stuff for us.  Wow, what a treat.  It has all the type of stuff we use - ear cleaner, stainless buckets, vitamins, poop bags, brushes, etc.  These were all discontinued items so they collect them for us.  Every item donated helps us continue to feed and provide medical care for the dogs.  THANK YOU TRACTOR SUPPLY!!  We will be taking Jupiter, Lucky, Amber, and Dixie to meet all the folks at Petco and Tractor Supply.

Our little Ebony is doing a bit better, although she still doesn't use her back legs properly.  I spoke with Dr. Smith at Dodge City Animal Hospital about her and he wants to examine her and the xrays to see if perhaps we can do an early intervention with a minor surgical procedure.  I have stopped swimming her because she gets so sore.  The morning after her swim she always seems to be in pain.  Hopefully Dr. Smith may have an answer.  He has performed surgery on two of our other dogs and both were great successes. 

Our regular vets are not orthopedic surgeons so they cannot treat Ebony.  Dr. McCormick at Hickory Small Animal Hospital has been Ebony's advocate.  She sent the xrays to two different orthopedic surgeons (one of which is from LSU Vet School) and both of them say that at this age the hips look normal and let's take a wait and see approach since she is a rescue and we don't have a lot of money.  However, after a little research I think perhaps Dr. Smith's approach may be beneficial.  If she continues to use the leg improperly there will be permanent damage to the joint and she will develop arthritis.  If we can get it so the ball of the hip isn't popping out of the socket, then there is less opportunity for damage to the joint.  So later this week we will see him and try to find an answer for Ebony.