ASPCA Rescues 85 Dogs from Overcrowded Property in Tennessee

Animal welfare agencies collaborate to transfer dogs to Big Apple and other cities for treatment, adoption
June 21, 2010

New York—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), under the authority of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in Waynesboro, Tenn. and in conjunction with the Nashville Humane Association and Atlanta Humane Society, rescued 85 dogs from an overcrowded property near Wayne County on Thursday, June 17.

The ASPCA's Kyle Held, Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigation and Response, removes a puppy from an overcrowded property in Wayne County, Tenn.
(Photo by Mike Bizelli for the ASPCA)

Twelve of the dogs have since been transferred in the ASPCA's new, custom-built animal transport trailer—made possible with funds generously donated by the Silberstein Foundation of New York and the Grousbeck Family Foundation of California—to the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City where they are undergoing medical treatment before being made available for adoption.  The remaining dogs were transferred to the Nashville Humane Association and the Atlanta Humane Society.

"The dogs appear healthy, but some have medical conditions that will need to be treated, such as heartworm and mange," said Kyle Held, the ASPCA's Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigations and Response.  "With the generous assistance of local law enforcement and our partner agencies, we were able to organize the rescue operation and do what's best for the animals by removing them from the property and providing medical and behavioral evaluations."

In addition to the ASPCA, the Nashville Humane Association and the Atlanta Humane Society were instrumental in the removal and transport of the dogs, and provided essential resources such as veterinary mobile clinics to treat animals requiring immediate medical care.  Veterinarians and volunteers also assisted in the on-site medical treatment of the animals, including Dr. Rebecca Coleman of Memphis, Tenn.

The dogs—which include medium to large breeds such as German shepherds, Labradors and hound mixes—were discovered living in communal, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions on a property owned by an elderly man.

"This is a serious problem throughout this region—people dump dogs and we have no resources or infrastructure to handle the problem," said Corporal Henry Williams of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.  "We are very appreciative of the dedication and professionalism of the ASPCA and their partners to help our community in this time of need."

"Many of the dogs coming to the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital have tested heartworm positive," said Dr. Robert Reisman, Medical Coordinator of Abuse Cases at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital.  "Heartworm is a treatable condition, but it will take at least six to eight weeks until the treatment is complete. Once these dogs are medically treated and behaviorally evaluated, we plan to make them available for adoption."

Through its newly formed Shelter Response Partnership, the ASPCA has been able to secure transfers for nearly all of the rescued dogs.  PetSmart Charities also provided aid by donating 100 crates to temporarily house and transport the animals.

Earlier this month, the ASPCA unveiled its first-ever animal transport trailer—a custom-built, 60-foot-long vehicle designed to increase the capability of the Field Investigation and Response team—in the heart of New York City's Times Square.  The vehicle is stationed in Missouri, a central location within the U.S. that positions it to respond quickly to large-scale emergency situations; this is the first rescue mission since the unveiling.  In addition to animal transport, the new vehicle will enable technical animal rescue, crime scene investigation, forensic analysis, and disaster response functions.