Hellish is just about the only word that comes to mind when describing the living conditions of forty-plus dogs and a few other “exotic” pets removed from a property in Stevens County, Washington. The raid on the property took place last Wednesday night and into Thursday, and three separate rescue agencies had to be called in to assist with the efforts. All of the dogs rescued are expected to make recoveries, but it’s still early days.
The conditions these poor creatures were forced to live in makes that fact that so many of them are actually NOT terminal a bit of a miracle. The Clayton Fairgrounds have donated space to the rescue efforts until more initial evaluations can be done and everyone rescued is medically stabilized. Of course after that there’s the monumental task of finding more permanent situations for all of them.
According to Jamie McAtee from Rescue4All, one of the teams called out to assist with the rescue efforts said, “When we first drove up, you’re going up a hill and there is a couple dogs, and then you see more dogs, and you see dogs chained to trees. They lived out their whole lives like that. There was a mom and two five-week-old puppies that were in an enclosure with a blue tarp over it. When I stepped in, it was literally the most deplorable conditions you could possibly imagine. You step down and your whole shoe just ends up to mid shoe in feces.”
Over the course of a couple of days, Rescue4All worked tirelessly alongside local law enforcement to get every single animal out of there that they could. According to Sheriff’s Deputy Jessica Garza, they were all overwhelmed by what they saw, but the property owners cooperated with the rescue efforts, and even assisted at times getting animals out.
“We had received calls, and we had two deputies respond two nights ago. When they realized what the situation entailed, they contacted me as I’ve done some rescues of smaller dogs before,” she said. “We went back to the property last night. The owners were cooperative and wanted the best for the dogs. They assisted us in getting as many as we could get loaded up before we lost daylight.”
It was a good thing that the property owners did cooperate, too. Under state law, these people hadn’t actually committed a crime. The laws state that anyone can have up to 25 breeding pairs or a total of 50 dogs on a property, and any dog that is considered a puppy, or under 6 months old don’t count.
“Without the owners working with us in this situation, our hands would’ve been tied. There was no criminal infractions, there was no violations of [WA state law]. They did have food,” said Garza.
She also said that the rescue teams are still looking for help with caring for all of these dogs that were taken away. Aside from forever homes, there are several very much needed items that would go a really long way to helping these dogs on their way to a better life.
Garza said the items requested are, “Lightweight blankets, towels, rags, cleaning supplies, people to donate food, dog food. We’re not picky at this point, anything is better than what they were eating. We also need people that have knowledge of other organizations that we can get these dogs into that are reputable organizations, because this is too much for us to take on.”
Please, if you can afford it, click here to be taken to a website where you can find out more about how you can help.