I have some INCREDIBLE news to share with all of you!
In November 2010, our close friend, Janie Jenkins, of The Puppy Mill Project, alerted us to a chocolate Lab in bad shape, on deathrow in a high-kill shelter in Gary, IN. We decided to save her. Since we didn’t have enough time to get to her before she was to be killed, a wonderful Indiana couple went to the shelter to save her for us. They drove her to meet us at our vet in Chicago. When she arrived, our veterinary hospital went to work to save her. She was hospitalized for 4 days. According to xrays, she hadn’t been fed in over 72 hours. She had been in Gary AC for 48 hours. Franny is now happy and enjoying her life as a healthy, senior chocolate Lab.
In April of 2011, we decided to go back to foster another dog from this horrible place.
We went to this shelter, and witnessed inhumanity beyond words. The only sounds we heard were howls and cries of fear. The distress of these animals was palpable. It made us phyically sick, and has tormented us ever since. The only “shelter” was a blue tarp partially covering several concrete runs, and it was the only protection they had from all weather, in all seasons. Some dogs had water; most did not. The first dog we saw was spinning around and around; so excited that we were there to rescue her. We were not, according to our “plan.” As it turned out, she was the lady-love of the Mastiff mix we were there to save.
We plead with the Animal Control Officer to allow us to save her too. This little girl had just come in to the shelter the day before, and was on a “stray hold.” In case her owners were actually looking for her, they likely would not have been able to find her. This shelter is at the end of an alley, bordered only by gunshot-ridden, abandoned buildings. It is unmarked, with no indicating signage anywhere. They do not allow public access, and they don’t allow public adoption. The animals that end up there only get out alive if a rescue volunteer finds a rescue group willing to jump at a moment’s notice. They forced us to leave her there, and as I pulled myself away from her, she was screaming at the top of her lungs.
The big guy we rescued, a Mastiff mix, now Gus, immediately fell sound asleep in my lap while Bill drove us back to the city directly to our veterinarian. While Gus slept, I pulled tick after tick off of him. Once at our veterinary hospital, he was determined to be clinically dehydrated, starving and severely underweight, weighing only 68 lbs. Our vet pulled another 25 ticks off of him. He came home with us that night, and no xrays were performed.
Finally, the week was over, and the little girl’s stray hold was over. They only gave us a 2 hour window between her release time and euthanasia. I drove as fast as I possibly could.
When I arrived, this poor dog was no longer spinning around in excitement. She was laying in the same outdoor concrete run, in her own excrement. She had given up and didn’t even pick up her head as I approached. I walked into her run and realized she was too weak to even stand. The Animal Control Officer barked, “She ain’t leash-broke.”
I politely walked by this woman and scooped little Lucy into my arms. As I carried Lucy to my car, I passed 5 fearful, sweet, 1 year old dogs that I knew were on the kill list for that day. I asked if she was really going to kill all of these healthy dogs, and she responded, “YEP! In about 10 minutes,” with a huge smile on her face, like it was the highlight of her day.
Once in my car with Lucy, locked inside, safe and snuggled under my long North Face puffy coat, I called the rescue coordinator to see if any of the others had rescue and just needed transport. I wanted to take all of them. Sadly, I drove away, unable to help any more dogs there that day.
When we arrived at our veterinarian, the crew went to work to get IV fluids into Lucy, pulled over 30 ticks off of her and evaluated her thoroughly. They confirmed our suspicion too; she was pregnant. They performed xrays and an ultrasound; identifying 6 little skeletal formations and hearing 6 little heartbeats. Lucy’s xrays also determined that she hadn’t had a morsel of food in over 72 hours. At this “shelter,” they didn’t even feed the dogs, since they were just going to kill them. Can you imagine being pregnant and not being able to eat anything for more than 7 days? Lucy was mid-term in her pregnancy, and this gave us about 3 1/2 weeks to fatten her up for delivery. By some miracle and a lot of nutritious food, Lucy delivered 12 healthy puppies, 6 sets of twins, on June 5, 2011 in my home office.
Months later, I told our close friend and fellow animal advocate, Cathy Bissell (and sister of Janie Jenkins), of the hell we witnessed in this shelter. She had just started the Bissell Pet Foundation, and she decided to fund a little research on my behalf. She later involved the Animal Rescue Corps and they performed a survey of this facility and its procedures.
Together, the Bissell Pet Foundation and the Animal Rescue Corps recommended to the Mayor of Gary, Indiana that this Animal Control be closed. Together, they found a humane solution for the abandoned animals of Gary. Now, they will have real shelter, food, clean water, veterinary care and a great CHANCE of being adopted. They will save 1600 lives every year!!!!!!!
On Monday, the Gary Animal Control was officially CLOSED!!!!!!!! Cathy Bissell listened to the story of our dogs, and then made change happen!!!!! We are forever thankful to Cathy, to Janie, to the Bissell Pet Foundation and to the Animal Rescue Corps.
CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
Here are the before and after pictures of Franny, Lucy & Gus…
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
THANK YOU FOR CLOSING THIS TERRIFYING PLACE & FOR GIVING THE ABANDONED DOGS OF GARY LIFE!!!!
When you need cleaning products, think of BISSELL first! YOU CAN BUY THEM FROM Dog Chic Boutique, OF COURSE!!
We donate 2 % of EVERY SALE of EVERY PRODUCT to the BISSELL PET FOUNDATION!!!!
JUST CLICK CLEANING-TIME!
Franny, Gus, Lucy and all 12 of Lucy’s babies