Akita Dogs Seized from Oregon Breeder Available for Adoption after ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation

National, local rescue groups join effort to help fearful dogs get second chances in New Jersey
March 24, 2015

Madison, N.J.—Three Akita dogs who were rescued from a large, commercial breeding facility have successfully completed the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Behavioral Rehabilitation program and are now awaiting permanent homes at rescue groups in New Jersey. The dogs were seized by Oregon Humane Society in November 2013 as part of a large-scale animal neglect investigation in Columbia County, where more than 100 dogs were discovered living in inhumane and poor conditions.

Many of the dogs rescued by the Oregon Humane Society were adopted via local shelters and rescue groups following the seizure, but the organization contacted the ASPCA when they recognized some of the dogs suffered from fearful behavior that prevented adoption. In September 2014, three dogs were transported to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the first and only facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation for undersocialized and fearful homeless dogs.

“These dogs came to us terrified and avoided any human interaction,” said Kristen Collins, senior director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation. “Many dogs who exhibit this type of behavior have lived in isolation, with little to no socialization their entire lives. Over the course of four months at our Rehab Center, these dogs learned to trust people and enjoy everyday activities such as going for walks, being petted and coming when called.”

At the center, scientifically sound techniques were used by a team of animal behavior experts and support staff to reduce the dogs’ fear of people, as well as to gradually acclimate them to unfamiliar objects, sounds, living areas, and real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress in undersocialized dogs.

“We are extremely grateful to have a place like the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center where these dogs received the help they needed in order to become suitable for adoption,” said Sharon Harmon, executive director of Oregon Humane Society. “Great partnerships like these can literally save lives.”

The dogs have graduated the behavior rehabilitation program and are now available for adoption at Sammy’s Hope in Sayreville, N.J., and Big East Akita Rescue in Toms River, N.J. “We’re thrilled to see them graduate our program and encourage people interested in giving these dogs a great home to contact these dedicated rescue groups for more info,” added Collins.

For more information on the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center and stories of individual dogs who have successfully graduated the program, please visit www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/aspca-anti-cruelty-behavior-team.