Thursday, September 03, 2009

Bust dogs wag big thanks to Oklahoma

While we've been distracted by frustrations in Philadelphia, it's good to note that things have been going the right way for some pit bulls -- in Oklahoma, to be exact. A tiny shelter not too far from Tulsa just waved farewell to the last dog from the group of 12 that came from this summer's big bad ass dog fighting raid - reported to be the "largest dog fighting raid in history." It was a happy good-bye -- every adoptable dog made it out to adopters or to rescue.

The folks at Claremore Animal Shelter raised their hands to house the dogs from this federal case when they could have said 'No' - They were under no obligation and lord knows these cases can freeze up badly needed kennel space for months on end. But after some deliberation between themselves, the staff decided they couldn't turn their back on the dogs. Did you get that? - they wanted to make sure the dogs got the help they needed. The part that gets us is that this shelter is so sadly under-resourced that a staffer wept when the HSUS donated some dog crates from the raid. I hope I'm not embarrassing said person - but gosh - it's big news around here when a small country shelter with no website, much less a donation button, scrapes together to help a lowly batch of fight bust victims. Left: Shelter Supervisor Jennifer Cummings. Jenn rallied hard to help the dogs. Below: This lucky pup went to a local home.

So needless to say, this is the kind of agency that we jump to help when a rescue request comes in. We weren't alone - several individuals and rescues came together to help this particular batch of dogs. Ken Foster from Sula Foudation in New Orleans met our Tim Racer out in Oklahoma to lend a hand and select a dog for his program. A local rescuer offered help to two dogs, one with a pretty bad tumor. Lara from A Rotta Love Plus drove a jillion miles to help this little girl. Mighty Molly Gibbs (adopter of Alf the Vick dog) bent over backwards during a very busy time in her life to help two special females in particular. Setting up transport for these dogs while keeping their secret location off the message boards is a bitch, but many helpers chipped in and worked under the radar. (You want gossip? Just tell people that you can't give them details.) Ken lists out the crew of understanding transport angels on Sula's Blog. Watch this spot for more pix on the adorable Annie (pictured below).

In total, 8 of the 12 dogs were steady enough to find their way to new homes or to rescue programs. The four dogs that had medical or behavior issues received compassion holds either in a rescuer's home or after receiving some special attention at the shelter. It doesn't sound like a lot of dogs considering the hundreds still waiting, but remember -- this is small town Oklahoma, where beat up pit bulls never used to have a snowball's chance of surviving post-raid, so we seized the opportunity to organize these rescue efforts. The commitment shown by every person involved - including and especially HSUS reps Cynthia Armstrong and Adam Parascandola - is an indicator that we are exercising our muscles in a new age where compassion, collaboration, and correct-action can finally click into gear for pit bull victims of cruelty.

Above Right: This sporty girl is on her way to BR. Below: This local rescuer (name withheld to protect him from local bad guys) offered this lovely girl a compassion hold. Sadly, a large tumor in her belly was too advanced, so she was recently put to peace after a couple of weeks of love and comfort in his home.

But back to the shelter that did good: Oklahoma's example is important because it demonstrates how this kind of collaboration can work to help cruelty victims in other locales, and we really need their example right now. We're worried that not every shelter holding dogs from this bust is working in the best interest of the dogs. That's not surprising, given the many variables involved in housing bust dogs all around the midwest. No details to share now, but rescuers are watching the various shelters closely and comparing notes on how things are - or aren't - working. I will say that the cases being handled by the HSUS reps continue to go without a hitch, so kudos to them for being so active in helping the dogs get the second chance they deserve.

If this story touches you, please consider giving to one of the orgs that absorbed the dogs. Or better yet - send supplies (toys, kong balls, pet vitamins, leashes/collars) to this tiny shelter in the middle of cowboy country, along with a hardy thanks for their impressive generosity towards the dogs. They truly deserve to be remembered for their self-less commitment to these victims of cruelty. (I've just signed them up for kuranda bed donations, so check back soon for the new link that will go directly towards gifting a bed to the shelter.)

Claremore Animal Shelter
815 W. Ramm Rd.
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017

Stay tuned for news on this group of Oklahoma bust dogs, and updates on rescue progress in other states.


Pip said...

Sometimes I'm just moved to tears by the generosity shown by people - this is one of those times. Thank you Claremore Animal Shelter. (Would there be any way to set them up with a donation button so that people can donate directly through paypal?)

Donna said...

Hmm. Donation button. Because they're a government agency instead of a non-profit, something like that may involve a lot of red tape. But I'll ask Jennifer if they have a preferred way to rec'd financial donations.
I like your thinking, Doc.

R3K9S said...

Ditto to what Doc Sinister said.
I got goosebumps while reading, and tears were welling up in my eyes.....

Donna said...

Jennifer was surprised by your interest in donating. Sweet lady - She doesn't know yet how many pit bull lovers are out there rooting for good efforts.

She said that donations sent to the shelter (address in the blog entry above) will be warmly recv'd and used for their shelter adoption program.

IMPORTANT - Please remember to post "shelter animal adoption program" in the memo.

Thanks guys. Now you're making me* weepy.

Bethany said...

Okay, just started crying at my desk. That's so wonderful of them and of you to spread the word about them.

Lynn said...

Those compassion holds get me every time. I hope to one day be brave enough to do that. How unselfish and compassionate that man is to have given that beautiful girl some love before then letting her go. I just don't think I could do it without sinking into a deep, deep hole......

But damn it, I can go buy some toys and stuff tomorrow and mail it to Claremore Animal Shelter!

Barb said...

Jennifer...I'm proud to call you my friend! Great job! You know that I preach all the time in my training classes that "We can't generalize any breed". Pits top the list...the family lines make all the difference. Keep up your fabulous work here in Claremore. We are VERY fortunate to have you!

The Foster Lady said...

Way to go Oklahoma...wish it were the same way here in Philly where most rescue won't take pitbulls and the ones that do are filled because our shelter (80% pitbull) is euthanizing dozens by the day as owners drop them off due to financial distress (understandable) or worse, just don't want their dog anymore. In addition we have the incredible number of strays, mostly pitbulls, flooding in as well.

The best way a pitbull can easily get a home in Philly is to be thrown into the Schuylkill River by a dissatisfied owner (as in, you didn't win that fight) and get rescued and then you FINALLY get the attention you deserve.

See the story:

Of course I'll send a donation to that tiny shelter in Oklahoma and hope that everyone else does as well.

AlexC said...

Sending check and note of gratitude right now. It's so important to let everyday heroes like these know how much we appreciate and support them.

Jen Mo said...

I just sent them a Kuranda bed too...Hopefully this will help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for that great update. Can I just point out how wonderful you guys are?--You're in the middle of a big fundraising effort, and you put out a call for donations to another group!

Anonymous said...

WOW, I got teary ready that!!
What a statement that says for them stepping up to help, KUDOS a million times over for that!!
Thats just so awesome! thats all i can say, just so friggin awesome!

Laurie A

andre said...

Hi Donna

The paypal donations button and the red tape has got me thinking.

Maybe you could do a 'virtual evening with bad rap' on your blog - a question and answer session. A fund raiser (which would also be a good way for you to raise even more money for your barn) and have us make a minimum donation to paypal and in return we get to ask you a question.

It seems the best way to take advantage of the 'pit bull love' that is out there. You get to raise funds. And we get to ask a question. Everyone wins.


Donna said...

Interesting thought, Andre.

We should look into something like that just for the sake of sharing info.

.. My brain waves are humming on that one ....

Ken Foster said...

I like that live seminar idea! I did a few of those with Best Friends last year, and there are a number of ways that it might be set up. (Email me if you need to.)

andre said...

maybe the rescue groups could come together and do 'virtual evenings/seminars' or something each month - the way writers with blogs cross promote their forthcoming books via guest posts and interviews on other people's sites.

I think also, you, as a rescue groups might not always see that the people who read your blog/website are not just interested in the dogs - we are equally fascinated and inspired by you as people. Good people helping lost souls find their place in this world. Who wouldn't want to spend an evening (virtually) with people like that.

Glad I got your 'brain waves humming'.


Dianne in DC said...

Humming indeed. Yes, I love this idea. Might help me get past my nostalgic wishing I was back in the bay area visiting with my friends from my youth in Bezerkley.

Dog Foster Mom said...

This is awesome - I love your honesty and your appreciation of groups who do what's right.

Like The Foster Lady said, we have the same problem here in St. Louis of shelters overflowing with pits and pit mixes, and most rescues won't take in these dogs so they're just euthanized instead. It's so nice to read about people who will save the dogs who need it most, regardless of their breed.


Pam in Bermuda said...

What a fantastic story!!! Bully Love continues to spread!!! Certain that the good folks at Claremore will be thrilled when they see the "Bully love" presents arrive from all over! Gotta run and send some goodies myself!

Anonymous said...

Great story! That part about the crate donation really got me. I sent over some leashes, toys, shampoo, etc. There's no note so of you speak to someone there tell them a pitbull owner says thanks. And even though I'm a dog person I didn't forget the cats :-)

Boris said...

I wonder why I checked back on this discussion, maybe because I smelt something cooking (like my Godma's brains?)

I'll get a shout out to Wallace & Hector about this " 'virtual evening with bad rap' ". They can get more information from M-guy. He did a 'internet radio' show a couple times where he participated with guest interviews. I like the idea of hearing the people so us pibbles can put the sound with the faces. Also, the 'program' could be downloaded and replayed (pod-cast for pibble fee).

Speaking of pod-casts, my favorite orthopedic Vet does a radio show on Sunday nights that you can 'download' to review the pod-cast later. He has some great advice for folks like Audie, me and others with our graceful bod's. KTRH "Your Pet's Health" Here is his link to some of his podcasts:
I missed his one on elbow displasia, I bet he talked about my inner beauty.

Would be a great way to share barn-yard stories with the crew.

I'll check-back, Boris, CGC

Pam said...

So good to know that there are some big hearts and open minds helping pitties in the midwest. Will send what I can.

Drew said...

I think pitbulls DO get a bad rap. I heard a horrible story once of a rescued pitbull who had to go to drug rehab because it's owner kept shooting it up with heroin in order to make it dependent and submissive

Anonymous said...

Hey Donna & Tim:

I called the Claremore Animal Shelter this morning. I thanked the man who answered the phone for helping those fight-bust pit bulls and told him that pit bull people are all family.

I went on to ask him what he would like me to send. He said they needed lots of towels, because they wash up a lot of puppies (awwwwww), and blankets, and anything you'd need to take care of a lot of animals. He was very, very kind -- I could tell he was a warm and loving person.

I just finished placing an order with my favorite pet products website and will be sending them a couple dozen leads and collars. Some friends and I are working on gathering up enough towels and blankets to get a package together and on its way to Claremore.

Thanks BADRAP for letting me do a little something to make me feel really good. I can't fly to the Midwest myself to rescue or evaluate fight bust dogs. But sending a few supplies to a shelter that went out of its way to help pit bulls --- that I can do!

s&b/mty (aka FDM)

Anonymous said...

Love the story. I got a dog crate years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. Dog Crates are a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be able to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use a dog crate, he'll think his dog crate is a safe place and will be happy to spend time in his dog crate when needed.

Trish said...

Thank you for the info! I will send ASAP!