Breeding season is upon us, and last week we got a stark reminder of how things can go terribly wrong when pets have unwanted litters and owners don’t want to deal with the consequences. Our office at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received a call from a woman who had a pit bull with eight 2-month-old puppies. She wanted to be rid of both the litter and the mother, and the adult dog had skin allergies requiring a special diet the woman could not afford.It so happened that one of our investigators was in the vicinity of the property where the mom and pups were when the call came in, so we responded immediately; but the caller was at work, and would be unable to meet up with the investigator until the weekend. A long phone conversation was had between owner and investigator, and a bag of food was left at the house to tide over the animals until they were picked up. Assurances were made that the pups would receive all the necessary medical care and be placed in responsible homes. The mother dog also would be given every opportunity to find a loving home, as her skin condition seemed a minor consideration. There was a nominal fee to help cover the cost of taking in the nine dogs, and arrangements were made so the owner could pay $5 a week so as not to be financially overburdened.
At the shelter, we had a few days to prepare for the arrival of the dogs — a rare occurrence, as normally they just rain down without warning. Preparations were being made for both space in the shelter and foster homes if the situation required it. The staff was making special preparations for the late Saturday afternoon arrival so the pups could get some medical attention and be evaluated for the type of housing and care they would require. The foster care coordinator had made contacts to have volunteers on call if the pups needed extra nurturing before they could be adopted out.
We were all set.
On Friday morning, there was a message on the answering machine from the owner of the dogs that someone had hooked her up with a “rescue” out of Absecon and it had picked them all up. She didn’t know the name of the rescue, didn’t know the name of the woman who picked them up, didn’t know to what address they were going. What she did know was the woman from the “rescue” has a brother who’s a pit bull breeder and he has a big, fenced-in yard. Red flags everywhere!
None of the authorities in Atlantic County knows of any such rescue in Absecon. All of the authorities in Atlantic County know there are areas in Absecon, Pleasantville and Atlantic City that are hotbeds of dog fighting, illegal breeding and the use of “bait dogs” to train their pits to fight. What started out as a simple case of an irresponsible owner wanting to “get rid” of some puppies has now turned into a fiasco. We are now working with Atlantic County investigators and shelters to try to locate the dogs before they end up as bait, breeding stock or fighting dogs. If we’re lucky, perhaps they just took them to sell and a few will be fortunate enough to find good homes.In today’s world, it is very risky to “give away” pets unless you are familiar with the home to which they are going. Whether re-homing an adult pet or trying to place a litter, time and research are required to ensure a good outcome. Some people resent the fact they must go through an adoption application process to get a pet from a shelter, but handing over animals without due consideration is irresponsible and private owners should take similar precautions as well.
(Source: www.thedailyjournal.com )