Last Thursday, Lauren and I responded to a report that the Winona Pound was again overcrowded and there were pups in with big dogs, as well as a mother and newborns. The sight was tragic. In the first run there were but three dogs, but the larger two jumped the little guy. Moments later, a second fight broke out. There were five large dogs in this run, one culvert section to sleep in and one feeder. It’s just not good enough to hear the Humane Society and the city speak of how things will change soon. They may be getting a grant to build a modest shelter, but how’s that helping all the dogs that are there right now?
There’s no doubt that the lives of the dogs we take out improve immediately, but what about the ones we can’t take. Blue Eyes and Ol’ Man have been there for months. The Humane Society has asked me not to make waves with the city over our disgust with the treatment of the animals at the Pound. I perfectly understand politics, but what about the precious dogs that linger in their sub-standard facilities?
We did bring Cassie and her three pups home, Nora and her six pups (there were ten dogs in their run), and Corey, the little guy who was jumped. As for the dogs we couldn't get, Amy will help me send photos of them to her Homeward Bound team at Mississippi State. Hopefully we can get them into the program. Again, what about the other dogs? This same scene is repeated in nearly every small town shelter in Mississippi and across the country for that matter.
A Happy Update
Weeks ago I received three frantic calls for dogs chained on Carroll County Road 129. A postal carrier who'd seen the dogs said she got sick after seeing them. I investigated and found the report to be accurate. I gathered the photos I took and contacted the Sheriff's Office and Deputy Brad Carver accompanied me on this second trip to the property.
The Deputy and I went to the property and he fully agreed that the dogs were in danger. I took video as we spoke with Mrs. Applon, the "owner's" wife, and pointed out and explained to her what the problems were. She was cordial.
After leaving the Deputy and I discussed the urgency of seizing the dogs. I went to Justice Court and spoke with the Clerk, who prepared a seizure order and I left the photo evidence for Judge Avant. The seizure order would be carried out under MCCS 97-41-2, a civil statute allowing for the seizure of animals that results in the transfer of temporary or permanent custody when their "owner" is unwilling, or unable to care for them.
The Judge didn’t speak with either me or the Sheriff's Office and when I didn't hear back, I tried to contact him for days. The Sheriff finally made contact with him and was advised that the Judge had spoken with the dog's guardian instructing him to feed his dogs better.
I then wrote Judge Avant detailing the condition of each animal and the environment they were being subjected to. I told him I would have Dr. Busby, of Mississippi State University and Dr. Katz, IDA's President, write him giving their professional opinion. August 6, a week and a month since my first visit to see the dogs, Judge Avant called the Sheriff and told him to go see if the condition of the dogs had improved. The Sheriff reported that nothing had changed. Judge Avant then issued a seizure order.
On August 7th, Lauren and I, accompanied by Deputy Carver, seized the dogs. They were taken to Veterinary Associates for diagnosis of skin conditions, possible parasite infestation, and general health check-ups. We arrived after closing on Saturday, but Veterinary Associates made themselves available (and we are so grateful) and our Amy, a senior vet student at MSU, assisted with the process.
Today Deputy Carver and I will follow up with the judge for setting the bond for the Applon dogs care for the period given for an "owner" to request a hearing, post a bond, and for interim until the hearing.
On the way to the seizure Friday we spotted CeCe, a pup, fleeing through the tall grass on the side of the road. I was able to gain her trust and she accompanied us on the seizure.
An Unhappy Update
Sorry to end this report with terrible news, but in the 16+ years I've been doing this work I have come to know first hand that not every story will have a happy ending. Our little Raisin, pulled nearly hairless from the Clarksdale Shelter, has died. She succumbed to parvo which she was exposed to at the Shelter. We're absolutely heart-broken over the loss, but we know we did what we could. The only good news to this story is that her siblings, Butterscotch and Winkie, are both doing well.