Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rescuing Dogs in Wyatt

On Thursday, November 18, Hope Animal Sanctuary Director Doll Stanley responded to a plea for help from Theresa, a Wyatt, Mississippi resident. Theresa was seeking help for an 86 year old neighbor, John, who had several momma dogs and litters of puppies. John lives in the rusted-out shell of an old school bus and is barely able to take care of himself, let alone his ever-expanding pack of dogs, so experienced help was desperately needed.

Doll met Theresa and her son at John's property that afternoon. Theresa and her son had been helping to feed and care for both the dogs and John. They gave Doll the lay of the property and filled her in on the personality traits of each dog and pup. As this was happening, John arrived. He said he was happy for the help, but didn't believe in spaying/neutering animals - that it was "unnatural." Clearly in over his head because of this belief, he relented after speaking with Doll and agreed to let us spay/neuter all the adults and take all the pups for adoption.

Doll left with ten puppies initially and went back a few days later for another litter of three. All of these puppies will be altered by Mississippi State University's mobile vet team in the coming weeks, then transported to our adoption partners, Every Creature Counts, in Denver for adoption.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Transport

Every transport is a challenge. The logistics of an operation that brings together so many people and animals from so many different locations could give UPS a run for their money, and our most recent transport was no different.

Hope Animal Sanctuary Director Doll Stanley and volunteer Lisa Martin departed the sanctuary this past Sunday afternoon and proceeded to pick up animals from all over northern Mississippi. In addition to the animals on this transport from Hope Animal Sanctuary and the Winona, Mississippi city shelter, animals were pulled from shelters and individual rescuers from Carthage, Clarksdale, Cleveland and Indianola. The final tally of animals on this transport was a mind-blowing 85 dogs and 11 cats. By far our biggest and most ambitious transport to date.

Everything went smoothly, including the unexpected roadside rescue of a dog found wandering alongside a busy highway in north Mississippi. Delta Dawn, as she's now named, joined the transport and was welcomed with open arms by the good folks at Every Creature Counts. Many of the animals from this transport will be adopted this weekend at a adoption events held in and around the Denver area.

We're so grateful to our rescue partners, Every Creature Counts, for their continued support in helping us find homes for dogs and cats who otherwise would have no hope of finding a good home. We want to thank Dr. Phil Bushby and his team from Mississippi State University's vet program who spayed/neutered most of the animals on this transport. Finally, thanks to HAS volunteers Debbie Young and Sherri Norquist for hours of data entry work that made this transport go so smoothly.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Remembering What Matters

I spent nearly the entire month of October in Mississippi filling in for Doll at Hope Animal Sanctuary (HAS). Doll was on much deserved and much needed vacation and they needed an extra pair of hands, so I offered to help. This was not my first time at the Sanctuary, I've been down several times and spent almost three months there at the end of 2007.

I was grateful on this trip to be joined by my nephew, Zach, who helped me immensely with the day-to-day operations and afforded me the ability to give the three employees, William, Lisa and Elizabeth, some much needed extra time off. I was impressed with the efforts of this team and I admire very much the work they do for animals, both in and out of the Sanctuary.

To me, there is no better way to remind yourself of what truly matters than working hands-on with animals. Animals that in most instances are coming from situations of abuse, neglect and violence that most of us cannot imagine. Had a rough day at the office? At least no one dumped you and your siblings along 70 mile per hour Interstate 55, like what happened to a group of weeks-old puppies that were recently through the Sanctuary - all had been hit by cars and despite receiving immediate medical care, none survived their injuries. Or Nicholas, a dog I took in while I was there. Nicholas had finally broken through the collar that chained him likely in someone's backyard. More a lawn ornament than and living, breathing, feeling animal, Nicholas' collar had become partially embedded in his neck, undoubtedly bringing him agony for only he knows how long.

Nicholas shortly after arriving at the Sanctuary.

These are just a couple of recent stories from Hope Animal Sanctuary. Sadly, not every story is a victory, but had HAS not been there to ease the suffering of animals that would ultimately succumbed to their injuries, they would have had to suffer for much longer. And had HAS not been there to rescue the ones that survived and thrived, they never would have gotten out of their hopeless situations.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Successful Transport

Lisa from ECC and Doll celebrate another successful transport.

Just a few days ago Doll and volunteer Debbie McCool (awesome and real name, not made up) transported 65 dogs and 5 cats from IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary to Every Creature Counts in Ft. Lupton, Colorado.

This was our second trip to ECC in as many months. The last transport brought nearly 60 dogs to ECC - all but one of whom has since been adopted.

The majority of the dogs transported came from Hope Animal Sanctuary, but we were also able to help out another couple of shelters in the region. We pulled animals from the Clarksdale Shelter, the Bolivar County Humane Society (BCHS) in Cleveland, Ms. and from the Mississippi Animal Rescue League in Jackson, Ms. We also brought dogs from a couple of our rescue partners and former IDA staffers Debbie Young and Lisa Martin in Jackson. Clarksdale and BCHS helped us with the cost of the transport.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip to Colorado a success. It means everything for the individual animals who were on this transport and who will soon celebrate in new loving adoptive homes.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Court Victory!

Mona Lisa just prior to rescue.

Hope Animal Sanctuary (HAS) and the Charleston, Mississippi Police Department worked together in July to rescue six starving, chained dogs from Sanders’ property on West Main Street in Charleston. Videotape of the dogs’ conditions and the rescues may be seen here. Doll Stanley, the Director of HAS, filed the affidavits in support of criminal neglect charges. Two of the dogs have since died.

“The entire town of Charleston, especially Animal Control Officer Kevi
n Hodges, deserves praise for their handling of this case,” said Stanley. “When ACO Hodges sees abuse, he acts. When he needs assistance he calls me. The chief has a zero tolerance policy for animal abuse, the PD act, and Kevin is spotter and town crier. The crowning testimony to the compassion of the community is Judge Steve Ross.”

Sanders was found guilty on six counts for failure to provide sufficient and wholesome food and water, the only statute available for charging these crimes. “While we are thrilled with the conviction,” added Stanley, “this points out the need for stronger animal cruelty statutes in Mississippi, and we urge all those who care about animals to contact Mississippi House Speaker Billy McCoy to ask his support for stronger statutes.”

The Mississippi State Supreme Court has ruled MSSS: 97-41-1 (Mississippi’s animal cruelty statute) vague and therefore unconstitutional. Since that ruling, there has been no revision of this statute, or the Chapter 41 statutes addressing the neglect of animals. IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary is working with veterinarians, humane representatives, concerned citizens and other leaders to strengthen Mississippi’s cruelty to animals statutes.

Mona Lisa recovering.

Judge Ross imposed a $75 fine for the conviction for each dog (6), a $95 court cost for trying each count, and $25 per count for the enforcement of the arrest warrants. Sanders may not possess an animal for three (3) years and was handed a six-month suspended jail term provided she complies with sentencing provisions.

“The responsibility of achieving justice for the animals who suffer at the hands of abusers weighs on all of us,” added Stanley. “But this trial couldn’t have gone more perfectly – and we are cheered by the thrilling recovery of the four dogs who survived Annie Ruth Sanders back yard.”


Friday, August 27, 2010

Hoarder Around the Corner

Merlin arrives at Veterinary Associates.

A few days ago Hope Animal Sanctuary (HAS) received a call from a woman in Grenada, MS who was concerned for the welfare of her sister, her sister's family, and their dogs. The woman's sister has been known for breeding poodles for years and doing a particularly poor job of caring for the dogs. The woman said it had been five years since she'd been invited into her sister's home and the family, including two adult disabled sons who lived at home, was getting older and frail.

The woman made arrangements with her sister to allow HAS to take some of her dogs. Since HAS was full, Doll arranged for Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) in Houston, TX to take the first six dogs.

Doll reports that when she arrived at the home the woman was waiting out front and dogs she wanted HAS to take were penned in the driveway. She clearly didn't want Doll anywhere near the house or the remaining dogs.

Doll said, "I've rescued animals from many filthy houses, sheds and even vehicles and I'm pretty adept at meeting just about any situation, but I can honestly say the six dogs I picked up this morning stunk so badly it was revolting. There’s no way they didn’t come straight out of a urine and feces filled environment."

These first six dogs went immediately to visit Dr. Reece at Veterinary Associates for an initial check-up and bath and are now on their way to CAP in Houston, where they'll receive more extensive care and eventually be made available for adoption.

Doll and Dr. Abernathy of Veterinary Associates will work on getting the remaining dogs, estimated to be around ten, released and into the vet for care and then on to CAP for adoption.

We'll keep you updated.


Thursday, August 5, 2010


Sabra enjoying her favorite treat - watermelon.

Sabra and her sister Nanny came to us from a neglect situation nearly 13 years ago. As a result of their early years, neither much liked attention and preferred to be on her own. Unless, however, you were offering them watermelon or banana, for either of those they'd drop their loner personas and perk right up.

After Nanny's death 5 years ago, we moved Sabra to a new area with lush vegetation and no little pigs to steal her food, no horses to share her bedroom with, and all the vines and leaves she could eat. She was thrilled.

Yesterday, William found her lying by the fence where she'd been eating. We don't know if the heat we've been experiencing played a role in her death, but she was an old girl and goats just don't live to be very old. Sabra had a wonderful, long life and there were no signs of struggle at the end.

She will be greatly missed and will leave a big void at the Sanctuary.


Monday, July 26, 2010

July Transport to Every Creature Counts

In the early morning hours of Thursday, July 22, Doll along with the rest of the Project Hope staff and with help from Lisa Martin, began loading a truck with 57 dogs and 12 kittens for another transport to Every Creature Counts (ECC) in Denver. Doll and Lisa would shoulder the responsibility of safely transporting these animals to Denver, but the additional help in loading everyone up was welcomed.

This transfer of the animals to our adoption partners in Denver couldn't happen soon enough. The spring and summer months have hit Mississippi shelters hard with record numbers of animals being abandoned and surrendered.

Despite the heat and a few glitches with the truck, the trip to Denver went well. Upon arrival, Every Creature Counts staff was waiting to help off-load. Many of the animals from this trip were in adoption centers this past weekend and ECC reports that several have already been placed into loving homes.These transports are always special, but this one was made even more special because of several notable animals and their stories that were aboard this transport:

Sarah Louise now and then.

Sarah Louise found her way to Project Hope just two short months ago. Her face was horribly disfigured - all the skin had been eaten away by demodectic mange.

One last goodbye to Coal.

Coal, the nearly hairless, starving puppy rescued on a dirt road near Union, MS.

Queen in Lisa's arms at Every Creature Counts.

Queen, rescued and cared for by our friend and colleague Debbie Young.

Will departs the truck.

Will was one of nine dogs transferred from the Bolivar Cleveland Animal Shelter in cleveland, MS. Scores of dogs from this shelter have been adopted through these efforts.

Edwin says his goodbyes.

Edwin was rescued by a friend and volunteer Billy Halfacre. Edwin suffered a mangled front leg that had to be amputated.

Ottie at ECC / Miss Priss arriving at Project Hope / Blue at ECC

Ottie, Miss Priss, and Blue knew only deprivation in the clutches of the hoarder who keep them. The world of compassion they now know wasn’t even conceivable a few months ago.

Our work is a team effort and we want to thank everyone who helped us with not only these animals, but all the animals we've had a hand in rescuing over the years.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Problems at the Winona Pound

from Doll...

Two weeks ago I received a call that the Winona City Pound was crowded again. Charlie Brown, the Animal Control Officer, had told us he was retiring so we were concerned. Charlie didn’t have a magic wand, but he and the inmates that cleaned and fed the animals did try. Charlie subsequently quit before the City chose a replacement. The choices were slim as the job was part time, just 16 hours per week.

I went to check on the animals and found 44 dogs and puppies in a 6 run outdoor facility. Most of the dogs were in obvious need of medical care. I contacted the President of Winona Animal Advocacy Group (WAAG), the community humane society, and offered that we needed to arrange for the dogs to be transferred to a facility that could at least properly handle them.
I called my friend Debra Boswell of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League in Clinton, MS. Debra said she would try to aid and we’d figure it out.

Overcrowded runs.

This morning members of WAAG met me at the pound just after 7:00 to assist with the loading of the dogs. We supplied the crates, Charlie came to drive the dogs and a flat-bed trailer was utilized.

Loading the dogs went smoothly, but as we loaded we, the WAAG members and I, as well as the inmates, were dismayed. The crowded dogs suffered hair loss and mild to severe skin irritation. One matted dog was missing hair from his stomach, feet, and legs. His condition was horrid. Then I spotted a dead pup in a run with 4 adults. Most of the pup's head was missing. Within minutes one of the WAAG members and I had found 4 dead pups. An inmate confirmed there had been 4 pups. One pup’s head had been completely bitten off and one probably suffocated as he was shoved beneath the pen frame. I then located the 4th pup. This pup had either crawled, or been pushed out the back side of the run and was in the washout area. His back left leg was missing.

One of four dead puppies.

It’s difficult to express the disgust, dismay, and sorrow of discovering suffering and dead animals in a city run animal facility. These animals were in need of help when they were impounded. They either strayed from their homes, were put out, or were surrendered or abandoned. What in the world could possibly justify their fate? Who is to blame?

The blame game. I think we’re all sick of it, but the responsibility for the suffering of these animals can be spread around. Someone failed as a guardian. The dogs that strayed surely deserved to be searched for. The dogs who were no longer wanted at least deserved for their guardian(s) to exhaust every effort to find them a new guardian. The City – why didn’t someone in city government know the dogs were crowded and seek relief for them? So many citizens speak of and complain about the horrors of the pound that there’s no doubt that officials at least knew these dogs were crowded. Why did no one seek a solution?

This morning Mayor Flowers broke the news that a city employee would continue to work for the water department while allotting time for animal control. Budgets are tight, guardians are scarce, but there’s no excuse for holding dogs in crowded, wet, and filthy facilities.

I will be meeting with WAAG to get a game plan together and then we’ll approach the City. This can’t be another quick fix just get rid of the animals in a hurry while settling for subjecting them to an inhumane environment.

WAAG will continue to enlist fellow citizens to work towards raising money for a real shelter.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sarah Louise

A few weeks ago, Doll received an urgent call from a Duck Hill resident begging for help for an injured dog. Doll grabbed her headlamp and a crate and headed out. The house where the dog had wandered to was only about 8 miles from Project Hope. When Doll arrived the entire family was out waiting for her.

The dog had wedged herself behind some items on the porch of their house. She was facing the road and her face could be seen between the porch rails. Doll didn't know what had happened to her, but one thing was certain, the injuries to her face were horrific. Had she been mauled? Hit by a car?

Sarah Louise.

The father assisted Doll in getting the dog safely into a crate and placed into the truck. Doll headed for town and called Dr. Abernathy. It was a Sunday evening, but he answered and said he’d meet her at the clinic.

Doll arrived at the clinic before Dr. Abernathy and upon further inspecting the dog's face believed the wounds to be burns. Her wounds looked similar to those Phoenix had endured.

Dr. Abernathy arrived and we moved the dog inside and on to the exam table. In the light we could see that the creases in her legs were also bloody and raw. It was clear now that no person had done this to this poor dog, but that she was being ravaged by demodectic mange.

Dr. Abernathy gave her pain meds and began a round of antibiotic. She'd stay at least the night at the clinic. Doll took pictures and named this sweet angel, Sarah Louise.

Dr. Abernathy administers meds to Sarah Louise.

The next morning Doll was at the clinic to check on her. Sarah, the clinic attendant and namesake for Sarah Louise, wiped Sarah Louise’s face and blood began to drip to the floor. We sprayed her face with a medication we hoped would ease Sarah Louise’s pain and gave her morning meds.

Sarah Louise is comfortable and we are keeping her clean and medicated. She's making progress.

Sarah Louise was obviously someone's companion - she clearly had been fed until recently and wasn’t on the streets for long. How could anyone watch her face be eaten away and do nothing to help her. What’s really horrid is that it’s likely Sarah Louise was turned out because of her condition.

We will keep you posted on her progress.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Saving Frankie

Everyone heard him crying. Employees from both Franklin Financial and The Great Wall Restaurant in Grenada searched for the kitten, but couldn't figure out where the cries were coming from. Finally an employee identified the cries as coming from the restaurant's grease recycling dumpster, but there was no way to reach the tiny kitten. Exhausted and getting desperate they called Animal Control, but no one was on duty. Then an employee remembered the nice lady in Duck Hill who helps animals and they called Doll in to investigate.

Ten miles away Doll was in the midst of cleaning the cattery, of all things, at Project Hope when the call came in from the desperate employee. Doll immediately responded because it was getting late and wanted to be there when the employees were still there.

Upon arrival, Doll also heard the kitten's cries, but was stumped as to how to reach the little fellow. The kitten had crawled into one of the holes the truck uses to lift the bin for dumping. Hard to imagine a more dangerous place for a tiny kitten to be - it would also make for a difficult rescue.

What to do?

After pondering how to get him out, Doll settled on using a vacuum cleaner. Hoping the suction would pull him out or he would flee the noise and run into the carrier. He opted for the latter and once the vacuum was fired up, he bolted right into the carrier placed at the entrance of the other opening.

Finally safe.

Hissing and trying to make himself appear as dangerous as a 4 week old kitten could, he was now safe - whether he realized it or not. Frankie, as he is now named, is recovering from his ordeal at the Project Hope cattery. He appears healthy and no worse for wear and will be on the list for adoption in another few weeks.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Milton sunning himself.

A few weeks ago a sanitation department worker from a neighboring county called Project Hope asking for help for a dog she'd seen on several occasions. She explained his plight and I responded. I set a trap, went for tea and very shortly thereafter received the call I was hoping for - the little matted dog was in the trap. The trap was set just outside the Sheriff’s Office and an inmate aided me in carrying the trap to the van. I asked his name and he responded, “Milton, my name is Milton.” I asked if he would like me to name the dog after him. He was so sweet in helping and expressed such concern for the little dog. So Milton it was.

Milton was left behind when his “guardian” moved out of his life. I know the area he came from well. I know that there are caring people that provided food for him once they realized he was at risk, but except for sustaining him, there was no remedy for his homelessness. Frightened and hopeless, Milton had already been chased off several times by property owners who didn't want him hanging around.

I took Milton to Dr. Abernathy for an exam, bath, shave, and assessment. He was scared and defensive at the clinic and had to be sedated for the exam and shave.

Once back at the Sanctuary, his mood greatly improved. It was as if seeing the other happy dogs made him feel a hope he'd not had in a while.

In no time at all Milton pranced, literally skipped, and definitely smiled. He wouldn’t allow us to touch him, but would climb up and sleep on my legs when he thought I’d slipped off into dreamland. This precious happy little fellow was blossoming.

Yesterday I noticed Milton’s right ear was troubling him. He was due for another shave, and he probably needed a dental exam. As any of these procedures would require sedation, it only made sense to sedate him to ease his concerns.

This morning I picked little Milton up from his overnight vet visit - I could hear his terrified cries from the kennel area. As I’m welcome in most areas of the clinic I went to aid the staff member handling him and to help ease his fear. Milton had chewed the leash bound to him in half and was just starting to realize he could flee - which he then did - becoming wedged behind some crates. I placed his crate near the ones he’d wedged himself behind and put my hand on his shoulders. He was terrified and uttered a weak growl. I gave him a minute and then gently eased him around and aimed him towards the open crate. He went in and quickly settled down.

Back at the Sanctuary, as Milton’s little feet touched the ground he began to skip. He went to check out his favorite hangouts and then joined the grazers. For the rest of the day Milton was my shadow.

Hard to believe he was referred to as vicious, even dangerous this morning. I spoke up like any good guardian would and said he was just misunderstood. I know the concerns for his behavior were real, but it was a stab to this loving guardian's heart.

I know there’s a world of suffering out there, but here in this little haven of hope there is safety and security for animals who have suffered traumas, like Milton, that we can only try to understand.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rescuing from a Rescuer and a Transport

In late March we teamed up with the Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL) to help almost 100 dogs rescued from a "rescuer."

The woman involved in this case is known in Mississippi for her rescue work. One nearby town pays her a fee to accept their unwanted dogs. In reality, she was not set up to take in and care for large numbers of dogs. Most of the dogs suffered from advanced mange and malnutrition. And as expected most have tested positive for heartworms, and many are unsocial.

This was the third recent so-called "sanctuary" or "rescue" to be closed in Mississippi in just the past few weeks. The lesson of the story is to carefully check out any such people or places before relinquishing animals. Sometimes, these places don't merit the term "sanctuary" or "rescue."

But there is a happy ending and new beginning.

Today some of these dogs along with others from the Cleveland, MS Animal Shelter and several from the Jackson, MS area are bound for Every Creature Counts (ECC) for new lives and forever homes in the Denver area. Altogether 66 animals rolled out of Project Hope this morning for the long drive to Colorado. In just about 24 hours these animals will begin the intake process at ECC and be readied for their big adoption event this weekend.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Spunky and Susie

Spunky was our girl for about 11 years. We were in Jackson at an adoption event when we were approached by a man who'd found some puppies in an abandoned house. We were so thankful and surprised that he’d traveled all the way to Jackson from Winona, MS, nearly a two-hour drive, to find help for the pups. After thanking him repeatedly we told him that our sanctuary was just 11 miles from Winona, but that his effort had uplifted our spirits.

We had few adoptions in those days and few people considered larger dogs, even when pups. Our Spunky and her brother Mikey were the two siblings not adopted. They were a bit timid and until recently had their own enclosure. They were tough on visitors. Not too long ago they joined other dogs - some younger, some shyer, but all new friends.

One morning recently our Spunky was having trouble getting around and didn’t seem know us. We aren’t sure exactly what happened, but she faded fast and Dr. Abernathy helped her pass.

Like everyone we lose, she has left a huge hole and we miss her dearly.


Susie came to us by way of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL) about 5 years ago. Susie was surrendered to MARL by her guardian who claimed the she had bitten him on several occasions. Susie lived with us for several years and we never had any instance of her biting people. We knew her to be sweet and good-natured and a lover of watermelon and bananas.

We truly enjoyed the time we spent with Susie and she, too, will be greatly missed.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Midnight's Forever Home

Midnight - laid back as ever.

In November of 2006, Project Hope’s Doll and Jeff were investigating reports of neglect of a Calhoun County horse. While investigating the complaint of the neglected horses, they stumbled across a couple of puppies on the property as well. One was thin and nearly hairless from mange and the other appeared to have already succumbed to starvation, but upon closer inspection was still alive. He also suffered from mange and had an injury to his right front wrist area that looked like a bite wound. An injury he still carries with him to this day.

Both pups were immediately taken to the vet and treated for their mange and parasites. The veterinary staff that initially cared for them named them Midnight and Moon.

Moon was soon adopted, but people looking for “shepherds” passed over Midnight because he was mixed.

Midnight lived at Project Hope for more than 3 years. He’s been treasured by staff and volunteers and his jovial personality and sweet demeanor has won the hearts of every dog he's lived with over the years.

Last Tuesday, March 9th, Doll drove Midnight to New Orleans for his flight to Chicago where his new guardian whisked him home to meet his new family. Kathy and her 3 sons and 3 dogs adopted Midnight. Kathy, a friend and once roommate, of our IDA's Connie Newhall, learned of our sanctuary through Connie and decided she was ready to adopt another dog. She likes her all male dog family and when she asked about adopting one of our dogs, Midnight came right to mind. Midnight loves boy dogs - he loves the camaraderie. Midnight’s trademark is how he walks us around his enclosure with one of our hands gently in his mouth.

We will miss our Midnight, but will always be thankful for knowing him and never giving up hope that he’d one day have his own family.

A quick dunk in the pool.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Confronting Backyard Breeders

Debbie Young, one of IDA's first responders during Hurricane Katrina, was in the Jackson, MS Petsmart volunteering at an adoption drive when a young girl came in with a puppy that was way too young to be away from her mother. The puppy didn't have any teeth and was estimated to be under four weeks old. The dog's guardian said she was told by the breeder she bought the dog from to buy the dog solid food, which the dog clearly wouldn't be able to eat. Debbie instructed the girl on the proper feeding for a puppy of this age.

Unfortunately this situation is not unusual. Backyard breeders set up shop all over Mississippi along well-traveled roads. In Jackson, there are several breeders who've set up shop in parking lots along the edge of County Line Road - one of the most heavily traveled roads in Jackson. None of these breeders are required to have a business license or permit. The businesses along the road, whose parking lots these breeders use, have complained about this for years. Amazingly, a local church recently wanted to hold a fundraising yard sale in a parking lot along County Line Road, the same parking lot some of these breeders use, and was denied a permit by the city.

Debbie has been battling these breeders for years and in this instance contacted Doll at Project Hope the local NBC affiliate, WLBT, for help. Doll and WLBT confronted the breeders - please see the newsclip below. Fed up with what seems to be preferential treatment these breeders receive, Debbie and Doll are working on a local ordinance that would regulate and likely stop this activity from happening.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hoarder Case and Transport Follow-up

IDA’s Project Hope sanctuary works 24 hours/day to rescue, spay/neuter, and find homes for animals of all species. In January, Project Hope’s Director, Doll Stanley, led an effort to save 58 dogs rescued from a Mississippi hoarder. Now, less than two months later, we have a very happy ending.

As the video and photos below show, Project Hope staff just completed a long journey that brought the last of these dogs to their new homes. Along with other dogs (and 8 cats) rescued from a variety of situations, the dogs were transported to our friends at Every Creature Counts (ECC) in Ft. Lupton, Colorado. ECC brought the dogs to PetSmart’s “Winter Adoptathon” and every one of the dogs from the hoarder case was adopted.

AP coverage of our rescue efforts made newspapers all over the south and in Colorado. Readers were inspired to adopt the animals. These dogs went from living in a miserable, dilapidated, over-crowded house, to happy homes, in less than two months. And, those who needed to be spayed and neutered were! All thanks to your support.

We hope this story inspires you to contribute to Project Hope
, so we can continue our rescue work.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hoarder Case and Transport

On Thursday, January 14, Best Friends contacted Project Hope to ask for help for a woman in Lexington, MS. The woman reported that she had about 30 dogs that she could no longer feed or care for. Project Hope's Director, Doll contacted a vet friend, Dr. Roberts, who has helped Project Hope on many occasions. Dr. Roberts knew the woman, who we'll call Linda, and Friday, he and Doll went to assess the needs of the dogs.

Linda and her dogs live in a house which is missing the entire north side, exposing every room in the house to the elements. The house is so dilapidated that Linda spends all her time on the porch wrapped in blankets to shield herself from the cold and rain. Considering the state of things, the dogs, all terriers and terrier mixes, were in relative good health. The only real issue with the dogs, aside form there being many more than the original 30 we had expected, is that they tended to be excitable and jumped and fought with each other. The smaller and more timid dogs clearly bore the marks of aggression.

With the direness of the situation Doll decided they had to begin moving the dogs. Since Project Hope was at capacity, the dogs would have to be boarded. Dr. Roberts and Doll loaded up 19 dogs on that initial trip.

Doll made a second trip to Linda’s a few days later. This time she removed 10 puppies and 7 adults. Doll left one mother behind because Linda said she might still have a puppy in the woods. The Cleveland/Bolivar County Animal Shelter stepped up to take these dogs. They were already planning a transport and the rescue group they were working with offered to take this group of dogs.

On Thursday, February 4, Doll went back to remove the dogs that remained. The dogs previously removed had all been spayed/neutered and this group would be spayed/neutered the next morning by Mississippi Spay And Neuter (MS SPAN) using their "Big Fix" mobile clinic. MS SPAN is an organization that provides low-cost spay/neuter across the state.

This bring us up to today, where Chele and Doll are doing a transport to Every Creature Counts (ECC) in Denver. ECC has generously offered to take the remaining dogs from this case. Doll and Chele left Project Hope for Denver earlier today with a whooping 76 animals, including 68 dogs and 8 cats.

This is a case of many folks pulling together to help a woman and her animals in desperate need. Thank you to everyone who made this ending a happy one - Dr. Roberts, Best Friends, MS SPAN, Every Creature Counts, Veterinary Associates and of course Chele for always selflessly offering her time and energy for transports.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mississippi - Urge Senate to Pass First Offense Felony Cruelty Bill!

MS SB 2623—First Offense Felony Penalty for Aggravated Offenses of Animal Cruelty
Sponsor: Senator Billy Hewes 

Please call your Mississippi state senator today and urge him or her to support the passage of SB 2623 to institute a felony-level penalty for a first offense of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Mississippi is one of only four states that does not have a felony-level penalty for the most severe acts of animal cruelty. However, the Mississippi Legislature has taken an important first step toward correcting this and better protecting dogs and cats in the state. Senate Bill 2623, legislation that will strengthen Mississippi's animal cruelty laws, successfully passed out of committee last week and is now headed to the Senate floor, where it will be considered and voted on by the entire Senate.

If passed, SB 2623 will institute a felony-level penalty for a first offense of the most serious, egregious and aggravated acts of cruelty to dogs and cats.

Studies have proven that violence and cruelty directed at animals is a first step toward violent behavior directed at people, which is another reason why strong penalties for animal abusers are so crucial: they help protect both animals and people and make for safer communities. Because of the proven link between violence toward animals and violence toward people, this is important legislation not only for Mississippi's dogs and cats, but for Mississippi's human population as well.

Help to put an end to the cycle of violence before it starts. Call the office of your state senator today and urge him or her to protect both people and animals by supporting SB 2623 to create a felony-level penalty for a first offense of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Please don't delay; SB 2623 could be heard and brought up for a vote in the Mississippi Senate as early as this week, so time is of the essence!

To find your state senator's contact information, visit our Action Center and enter your zip code.

You can also find your Mississippi state senator's contact info on the state's web site.

Please remember to contact your STATE senator, not federal senator!
Here are a few talking points that might help you when calling your senator:

•Mississippi's animal protection laws are among the weakest in the nation.
•Mississippi is one of only a very few states that does not have a first offense felony-level penalty for the most serious and egregious acts of aggravated animal cruelty.
•Because of the proven link between violence toward animals and violence toward people, mental health and social services professionals support strong animal cruelty penalties such as a first offense felony for aggravated acts of cruelty to animals.
•Providing stronger protections for animals has the added benefit of protecting people.
•Cruelty to animals is an indicator crime of future deviant and violent criminal behavior.
•Strong animal cruelty laws make for safer communities.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Clarksdale, MS Shelter

Getting out of the van, the smell of the shelter was overpowering and sickening. I’d asked the City Attorney, Curtis Boschert, for a tour of the shelter with Sherri Norquist, an experienced shelter director, and Sherri’s daughter, who also has shelter experience. It had been a couple of months since renewed complaints of overcrowding, aggression, and emotional and physical distress were reported to Project Hope and we were just following up to ensure improvements had been made.

Today’s tour was very disheartening. The entire facility had gotten much worse since the last time we toured. Clearly the jail inmates who were tasked with cleaning the facility had not been doing so. I actually left unable to speak with my nose running, eyes burning, and throat swelling and irritated. The stench, thick with ammonia, permeated the entire shelter and irritated my sinuses and throat.

Overcrowded, dilapidated cages lined the walls of the rooms. Sick animals were intermingled with healthy animals. Pens held too many juveniles and puppies together. Nearly every cage held dogs with hot spots, mange or a myriad of other untreated illnesses or wounds. The cattery shared this small room and the deafening sound of dogs barking bounced off every wall.

Outside, loose dogs chewed on paws, legs, hips, and backs dotted with hot spots. Dogs were haphazardly placed in runs with many cowering in fear of their cage-mates. The uncovered runs held too many dogs and not enough shelters, leaving the most terrified dogs standing or lying in the mud, muck and feces of the run floor.

During the tour the Director pled her case for the sacrifice of her time, energy, and money for the thirteen years she'd been there. So many own the responsibility for this failed “no kill” shelter. Complaints to the city had fallen on deaf ears and community members had fostered the situation with lack of interest and support. The Director clearly gave everything of herself, as did her husband for what they believed was a noble effort, but warehousing animals with no hope of a better life is simply unacceptable.

The Director, burdened beneath the weight of a tough, thankless mission and now with public scrutiny bearing down on her, she surrendered her position to the City Attorney.

We turned our attention to trying to help the animals who were languishing in the shelter. We met in the mayor's office and hatched a plan. We contacted several local vets to come in and help. New volunteers from the community came in as well.

When animal loving people come together, share their resources, and give unselfishly we can move mountains. Sadly it sometimes takes a crisis for caring folks to realize their potential.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rest in Peace

It’s never easy to lose someone dear to you. Loss is an unfortunate part of sanctuary life and we cope with it far too often, but our loss January 3, 2010 has really hit us hard. BJ, our precious, endearing Russian Boar came to us nearly 9 years ago. He was orphaned by a hunter, but rescued by someone who couldn’t leave him behind.

A Memphis woman embraced the orphaned and bottle fed him along with pups she was caring for. Because the woman lived in the city she was unable to keep BJ. A couple of calls around and she learned of our sanctuary.

When BJ arrived he was just a couple of months old. We already had several pigs so we knew he’d fit in.

As he grew he endeared himself more and more to us. His bright amber eyes were captivating. He loved belly rubs and wallowing in the mud. He received bananas and apples regularly, but adored watermelon and watching him eat watermelon was like watching a child dismantle wrapping from a present.

BJ shared his space with Mary Grace. He loved her, but she annoy him at times with her high pitched and prolonged demands for food. Sometimes he’d butt her with a strong, ”shut the heck up!” What he didn’t realize was Mary Grace’s disturbances got them fed first every time.

BJ determined which house was his and how it would be kept. As winter approached BJ would begin gathering dried grasses for bedding. Season after season it was me who’d have to clear BJ’s abode of packed hay as he stood by vigorously protesting.

BJ was amazingly gentle with children. Our dear friend, Debbie Young, brought her grandson, Austin, whenever her rescue and adoption efforts allowed free time. Austin and BJ were real pals. BJ willingly cooperated with Austin’s inspections of his ears. Austin and his brother, Ackerly, visited us just a few weekends ago and BJ really enjoyed their visit.

BJ’s appetite started to decline and Dr. Abernathy was called. BJ was now lying down, apparently in discomfort. Doc wasn’t able to determine what was wrong. He planned to come back out, but let us know he didn’t have the equipment to x-ray BJ. BJ began eating again so we believed he might have ingested something he’d expelled. Two nights later BJ died. BJ appeared to have gone peacefully in his sleep. He was in his house, blanketed in his hay, and there were no signs of distress.

We miss him dearly.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breaking Mississippi Animal Cruelty Case

Canton, Mississippi Animal Control Officer, Alonzo Esco, has been fired for allegedly shooting to death over a hundred dogs that were in his care. It's speculated that Esco had also been selling dogs he picked up for bait in dogfighting. What is clear is that after an investigation by the Canton Police Department was that Esco had shot and illegally dumped over 100 dogs in a Canton waterway.

Because the crimes were not a felony, the case would have to be taken up in a lower court. And the Mayor of Canton said that because it was a misdemeanor, the city would not take up the case.

“We will not let go of this,” said Doll Stanley, director of IDA’s Project Hope. “It is absolutely appalling and disgusting that an animal control officer working for any municipality would take it upon himself to violate city policy by shooting animals entrusted to his care. We know this goes on in different communities in Mississippi, and we’re hoping that when these same communities see that Mr. Esco is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law that they will wake up and smell the coffee.”

Esco is facing at least 100 counts of animal cruelty for shooting the dogs. IDA is also looking into the fact that he used city property to act illegally.

Sources revealed that Esco was let go from the Canton Fire Department for stealing gasoline and “demoted” to animal control.

“What is very disconcerting is that a city employee would be demoted to animal control. It is really disturbing is that an animal control position is not considered respectable. Sadly, here in the Mississippi, animal control is often viewed as a gateway to the police or fire department. As an auxiliary policeman, Esco did have a police weapon and this is the weapon he used to kill these animals.”

Check out the news reports from WLBT-TV and WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi for more information on this breaking case.


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