ASPCA Responders on Scene in Clarksdale, Miss.

More than 400 dogs and cats being removed from overcrowded shelter
January 24, 2010

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), under the authority and request of the city of Clarksdale, Miss., has dispatched its field investigations and response team to assist in the removal of more than 400 dogs and cats from a local animal shelter.

ASPCA responders arrived early Sunday morning and are leading the effort to remove and transport animals from the City of Clarksdale Animal Shelter. The ASPCA is also working with local authorities to establish a temporary shelter for the animals, which include 40 cats and approximately 320 small and large-breed dogs.

Tim Rickey, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response, said many of the animals appear to be healthy, but some have medical conditions, including mange, as well as injuries and bite wounds from living in communal, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. “What we’ve found are more than 400 animals living in a space designed for about 60,” Rickey said. “Our goal is to export as many of the animals as possible to other agencies where they can be placed up for adoption.”

The ASPCA team will begin removing animals once an emergency shelter site has been established. While the ASPCA is the only national organization on the scene, other agencies assisting in the operation include: In Defense of Animals: Mississippi Animal Rescue League, which is providing volunteers to care for animals; Mississippi Animal Response Team, which is providing crates and supplies for the temporary shelter; and four local veterinarians: Dr. Andrea Marble, Animal Medical Clinic; Dr. Jody Swartzfarger, Lawndale Pet Hospital; Dr. Wayne Adams, Adams Vet Clinic; and Dr. Isis Johnson Brown. The Atlanta Humane Society is transporting at least 100 animals to Georgia, where they will eventually be made available for adoption.

“We are making sure that the animals’ immediate needs are being met, and all animals are being evaluated by a veterinarian and will receive appropriate care,” Rickey said. “This was a situation where the intake of unwanted animals was much higher than the number of animals being adopted, and it led to horrible living conditions. We are glad to be able to provide relief.”