UPDATE (7/8): While we initially reported more than 250 lives saved in this rescue operation, in the days following the raid that number has climbed to 300 victims. The animals are now receiving medical and emotional care in an off-site ASPCA facility. Your support is still urgently needed.
Update (7/1): View photos from our rescue efforts in Alabama on Tuesday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 1.
This post was originally published on June 30, 2015.
The ASPCA is on the ground assisting the Moulton Police Department in the removal of more than 250 animals from Lawrence County Animal Shelter in Alabama. At the scene, our responders discovered the animals—including dogs and cats of all breeds and ages—living in filthy, deplorable conditions.
Many of the animals were emaciated and appeared to be suffering from medical issues such as parvo, distemper and untreated wounds. Some of the animals were being housed in small wire crates and others in crowded enclosures where animals fought for resources and space.
The ASPCA’s Medical Animal Surgical Hospital—a custom-built, mobile animal hospital—will allow veterinarians to provide critical care to animals on-site. From there, we will transport the animals to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location to provide them with additional medical treatment and behavior enrichment.
The Lawrence County Commission has terminated its contract with Lawrence County Animal Shelter following a complaint from a shelter volunteer citing animal abuse and mistreatment at the facility. ASPCA experts are collecting and analyzing forensic evidence and providing legal support to help strengthen the criminal case and ensure the best outcomes for the animals.
“This is a truly tragic situation,” says Tim Rickey, vice president for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “It was immediately clear upon entering the facility that these animals have been severely neglected. Our goal is to provide them with much-needed medical attention and socialization. Eventually, we hope to place them with responsible shelters that have the means to care for them and find them adoptive families.”
We’re grateful that these 250 animals will no longer suffer in secrecy. Unfortunately, our work is far from finished—we need your support so we can continue to provide care for these animals, and for countless others who are waiting to be rescued. Please consider making a donation to the ASPCA today.
Janet, Chrissy and Jack were rescued by the NYPD in early May. The three Shih Tzus were malnourished and their coats were so matted that their vision was impaired. They were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital where our expert staff provided medical care, grooming and a gradual feeding schedule to help the dogs gain weight safely. While this trio is making good progress, it is still too early to discuss their availability for adoption.
“We often care for victims of extreme matting—the impacts of which go far beyond the cosmetic,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “Severe matting can lead to skin infections, decreased mobility and even cut off circulation to the point of limb amputation. We’re thankful that in the course of a narcotics arrest the NYPD investigators were able to recognize animals in need and bring them to the ASPCA for care.”
We are optimistic that Janet, Chrissy and Jack will continue to improve under our care.
“This case exemplifies why the partnership is so important for this city’s most vulnerable animals, and we thank the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office for seeking justice in this case,” says Lawrence.
The ASPCA is on the ground in Freeport, Florida assisting authorities with evidence collection and the rescue of seven canine victims from a property where animals were allegedly housed and fought.
ASPCA responders discovered the dogs tethered to heavy chains at the scene, and many exhibited scars and wounds consistent with fighting. Drugs and dog fighting paraphernalia were also discovered on the property. We are providing the dogs with emergency medical treatment and behavioral enrichment, and they are being kept safe at an undisclosed location.
Many of you may remember the story of Chuck. In 2013, he was abandoned with hind leg fractures outside of a New York City park. It was a frigid December day, and Chuck, unable to walk, had been left for dead. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the 2-year-old pit bull received surgery and underwent intensive physical therapy, and by the summer of 2014 he was ready for a forever home. It was an inspiring recovery, and today we are thrilled to bring you Chuck’s Happy Tail.
The first few years of Chuck’s life were anything but easy. At the time of his abandonment, he was suffering from an untreated joint disease in addition to the painful hind leg fractures. But his rescue from the cold was just the beginning of his journey: It took six months of surgery, hydrotherapy and treadmill work to help him regain the use of his legs, only after which we could begin the search for his forever home. Chuck was a happy, energetic pup, but his needs were extensive and we knew it might take some time to find a dedicated adopter. We decided to share his story with the world, and fortunately, fiancés Joan and Christian heard our message loud and clear.
Joan recalls her first impression of Chuck fondly. “Christian and I saw him on the ASPCA website and cried at his story,” she says. “Within minutes of reading about him and watching his video, we decided to adopt Chuck.” For Christian, the connection was personal. He says, “Chuck’s story hit home with me. I’ve had a few surgeries on my leg and I have a big pin in my hip…I gravitated right to him.”
Neither Joan nor Christian had been to the ASPCA before, but they couldn’t wait to get to the Adoption Center and meet the 40-lb. pooch in person. “We knew we loved Chuck as soon as we met him,” Joan says. “We wanted to give him a loving home and a chance for a happy life.” Although Chuck had made amazing progress during his six months in our care, he would always have special needs, so we made sure the couple was fully aware of his requirements. They were unshaken. “Who could resist that face?!” Joan laughs.
At the couple’s apartment in Queens, New York, Chuck made himself right at home. “It was as if he’d lived with us forever,” says Joan. The sweet pup is loving his new life and seems to have forgotten all about the hardship he’s been through. He’s got a constant smile and wagging tail, and Joan says, “Christian and I couldn’t be more in love with him. We were meant to be.”
To see Chuck in his happy new home, check out the video below. Congratulations, Chuck!
The ASPCA's Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride, a new program launched in January, aims to relocate dogs from the Southeast to the Northeast—where they will have a better chance for adoption—over the next three years. On Thursday, April 23, 34 more lucky pups got a new “leash on life” through the program’s first transport to New York City.
The two-day transport began in Louisiana and Mississippi with dogs from the Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans and Natchez-Adams County Humane Society in Natchez, Miss., shelters that are new to the NSRR program but will be routine partners in the future. The custom-built animal relocation vehicle rolled into New York City around 12:30 pm last Thursday, where it was greeted by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker, Board Member Linda Lambert, Nancy Silverman, and a handful of very excited staffers at the ASPCA Adoption Center.
The dogs, a variety of breeds including Dachshunds, Labs, terriers, and hound and Catahoula mixes, range in age from 10 weeks to five years. Their road trip began in New Orleans on Tuesday, and they spent Wednesday night at the Augusta Regional SPCA in Staunton, Va. before continuing their journey to New York early Thursday morning.
ASPCA Board Member Linda Lambert, ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker, and Nancy Silverman.
“Transporting these dogs from areas of the southeast, where the risk of euthanasia can be high, to places where they’ll be adopted, is very rewarding,” said Kristen Limbert, Director of Animal Relocation at the ASPCA, who helped unload the dogs from the vehicle. “It feels great to be part of a program that gives so many dogs a second chance. These are amazing animals that just need a change of venue to find an adopter who is going to love them forever.”
Six of the dogs will receive spay/neuter surgeries and be made available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center, while the remaining rescues were transferred to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, an ASPCA partner in Madison, New Jersey.
“When I saw those puppies… my heart almost burst,” said Ms. Silverman.
Currently in its fourth month of operation, the Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride vehicle has already made 18 trips to source shelters and saved the lives of hundreds of dogs. This landmark occasion marks the first—but certainly not the last—transport to the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in Manhattan, and we are looking forward to many more lifesaving trips in the future.