As a small child I wanted to be a veterinarian or a zoo keeper. The first stray animal I brought home was in the form of a feral kitten. I was in second grade and I was tired of watching the mean sixth grade boys terrorize her at recess. So one day I brought my ever trusty Kermit the Frog bag to school with dry cat food in it. Right before getting on the bus that would take me home I found the poor kitten, scooped her up and placed her in the bag. My bus driver didn't notice at first. When I got home I tried to hide the kitten in my room so my parents wouldn't notice. My parents asked me about the kitten and I tried to say she was a friend's cat. That only worked for so long. Between the bus driver and my parents I had many stern talking toos. Until the actual truth came out. None of the adults could fault me for saving a kitten from being terrorized they just didn't like my lying about it. Needless to say that little kitten grew up and was a great companion of mine during my childhood.
I once stood up to some boys in Bluefields Nicaragua who were terrorizing a different little kitten. Spanish was their first language and mine was English but my point came across clear as a bell. They probably didn't know what to think at first of this 16 year old white girl screaming at them. Who knows what happened to that poor thing once we flew out of there but during my stay she was safe and sound.
Now many people would come to a conclusion that I was a very strong supporter of the group PETA. I am not. I agree that the general public needs to be informed about animal cruelties that happen every day. But I do not agree with vandalizing property or setting free animals that have never been out on their own before. This often leads to starvation and death of those supposed beloved animals they were in fact trying to "save".
I do support animal groups that do the right thing when it comes to helping out animals. Take Meow Cat Rescue for instance. These people are trying their very best to find foster and permanent homes for the thousands of cats here in the greater Seattle area. I have adopted three cats from them over the past several years and they have been fantastic! As the kitten season gears up I want to encourage everyone out there to donate some money or buy a couple things off their wish list to support them. And please don't forget to spay and neuter your animals!
During this year's Puppy Bowl put on by Animal Planet I discovered another great organization: Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. These tireless volunteers have day jobs and their own lives but they still find the time to help rescue dogs in desperate need of a better living situation. If you live in the south or on the east coast you can help them out by becoming a foster parent or a permanent residence for these great dogs. If you don't have the time or energy for a dog then you can always donate some money too. Since BFDR is completely volunteered based they are always short on cash. Treating a heart-worm positive dog alone can cost around $500.
I also bring up BFDR because they have discovered a horrible situation at the Warren County Animal Shelter in McMinnville TN. The dogs at this shelter have not been treated well, many have starved to death because of this inhumane treatment. And like many places doing something shady they are denying any wrong doing and claiming that videos taken of a pit full of dead dogs is from months ago. Every time I think about this injustice my eyes swell with tears. Here is the latest from this ongoing saga:
This is a very very long and dark post and I apologize in advance. I have been sitting on a piece of information that I have debated making public. As many of you know, BFDR has alleged that the Warren County Animal Shelter in McMinnville TN starved dogs in their care. We took 15 from them and those that had been there the longest were emaciated as compared to their intake pictures and those that were more recent intakes were covered in bite wounds. At the very bottom of this post is a link to all the documents that establish the condition of the dogs on arrival. Also in that link is the state lab report which proves Mila was not euthanized as claimed, but starved. I am sickened over this.
BFDR have been called liars. We have been told everything we said is made up and a hoax. We have been told that the video of the dead dogs in the pit on the open land behind the shelter is old footage we have somehow relooped to make them look bad. Then we were told the pit was for road kill and euthanized dogs. Then we were told they only euthanized three animals in the past year: Mila the husky in the video, a cat with a lung infection and an aggressive pit bull. We have been told that Dr. Young in McMinnville euthanized Mila for health reasons. We have been told it's our fault she's dead because we didn't get her out of the shelter. In short, we've been told everything but the truth.
I want to shine a very large spotlight on to Warren County Tennessee and I want everyone to know the truth. Mila's body was brought to our vet on Monday, March 25. The body was sent to the state lab for necropsy. Below is what the state lab said about her condition and cause of death. This dog died of starvation and was NOT euthanized. Here is what the report says (the full report is in the link at the bottom):
Fat Atrophy, severe
Cutaneous Myiasis, generalized, moderate to severe (antemortem)
Generalized Demodectic Mange, severe with bacterial dermatitis
Stomach, Gastric Dilation with food overload (high appetite)
Final Diagnosis Comment
The most significant finding is the starvation which is the result of inadequate nutrition. There is no evidence of terminal
infectious disease or malignant neoplasia that may cause the emaciation. Long periods of inadequate nutrition can have
severe detrimental effects on the body including immune system impairment which is evident with the severe demodectic
mange found in this dog; susceptibility to infections, prolonged gastric emptying and gastrointestinal transit times; and
reduced cardiac output.
There is no evidence of poisoning.
The body and separate bag with a 45 X 5 X 6 cm piece of meat are received on 3/25/13. The necropsy is performed on
3/26/13. Presented is an approximately 4-5 year-old (based on teeth and tartar accumulation), spayed female Sheppard
mix dog in poor body condition with moderate to severe postmortem autolysis. The dog has a blue collar but it is not
embedded in the skin. On general examination, the body is generally covered with maggots and very thin with bony
prominences on hips and ribs. The ventral skin is thickened and crusty. There are multiple open wounds (parasitic-like
hole) as follow: right face, distal legs and right lateral thorax. The haircoat is dull and less abundant (no thick as in
healthy dogs). There are some areas of alopecia on the legs with associated scabs. The rectum is missing (scavengers).
The superficial inguinal lymph nodes are prominent. Upon opening the body and reflecting the skin, the subcutaneous
tissue lacks of fat, and is green on some areas (autolysis). The internal organs are dark red, congested and generally
decomposed. There is a severe lack of fat. The lung lobes are edematous. The stomach is distended and filled with
abundant dry commercial dog food (food overload). The small intestine is empty. The distal large intestine is coated by
small amounts of green pasty feces. The liver is slightly small (off fed). The spleen is not enlarged (no euthanized). The
lymph nodes are generally enlarged (more over the subcutaneous LNs). No other significant gross findings are observed
in the body.
Let's review the facts, not the crap put out there by the spin doctors at Warren County TN:
1. Mila suffered from extreme starvation.
2. She died sometime around March 19.
3. Pictures of her were circulating in January and fundraising was done for her by Sad Eyes Urgent Rescues facebook page at least as far back as Feb 6.
4. Mila was NOT euthanized per the state lab's report.
5. Mila suffered extreme starvation, had a small liver from lack of food, was engorged with dry food at the time of death.
For those that want a (GRAPHIC) reminder of what she looked like at death, the link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul2_P7K5EaM&feature=youtu.be
We have turned over all our photos, vet records, and evidence provided by the shelter to the authorities. It is beyond our ability to bring the county to justice, but they have a ton of explaining to do and we sincerely hope the masses ask those questions and that the media step up and ask the hard questions.
Spread the word, fans. This county needs to be investigated. I am not OK that a dog that starved to death, let alone while in the government's care. I am appalled at the incredible cruelty of it all.
Here's the link to documents:
(You can also find out more information about this story on BFDR's facebook page.)
Spread the word folks. Don't send hate mail though, that never works and does a great disservice to those in need. Get up on your soap box and tell your story. Stand up for what you believe in. You can change the world. Sure it might be slow or small at first but you can do it.