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December 09, 2011

Giving More than 100 Dogs Shelter for the Holidays

In rural Noxubee County, Mississippi, there is no animal shelter to take in stray and lost pets—one more sign of the many gaps that exists in the animal-care infrastructure in America. But the absence of a physical structure or organization doesn’t mean that local residents don’t care about animals, and this week our Animal Rescue Team answered a request to step up and help to give more than 100 dogs the food, shelter, and veterinary care they desperately needed.

Brown dog with skin condition rescued from hoarding in Mississippi
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
Many of the rescued dogs suffered from skin conditions.

A local woman who had been taking in dogs for years became overwhelmed and couldn’t care for them properly. Concerned citizens found placement for puppies and smaller dogs, but local resources were stretched too thin. So our Animal Rescue Team deployed to remove more than 100 dogs and care for them at an emergency shelter we set up nearby.

The photos and video from the property are heartbreaking. Most of the dogs such as Labrador and hound mixes were roaming loose outdoors, some with severe mange and untreated wounds. They were filthy from deep mud and standing water. Some are underweight and have bite wounds, and they weren’t getting proper veterinary care or socialization. Since many weren’t spayed or neutered, they continued to breed and to add to the overcrowding and poor conditions.

Fortunately, the owner surrendered these dogs so they can get the care they need. We transported them to our emergency shelter, where veterinarians from the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Shelter Medicine Program (itself a beneficiary of prior HSUS support) examined them and will continue to provide much-needed care, like performing surgery on a dog with a badly broken leg embedded with buckshot. And we’ll be taking special care of animals like Hobo, an underweight hound mix who’s lost almost all her fur and is terrified of people—but we’re hoping to place her in a foster home where she can come out of her shell.

Going forward, the owner has committed not to acquire more pets, and we’ve encouraged local officials to work with animal shelters in nearby counties. Our staff and volunteers will care for these dogs at our emergency shelter until we find placement with our Emergency Placement Partners.

In addition to our path-breaking work to prevent cruelty and to take on institutionalized abuses of animals, The HSUS is one of the top providers of direct care services for animals. In a good number of cases, we step up to fill the gap when there is not enough local capacity to help animals. Thanks to these concerned neighbors and to our supporters who make our rescues possible, these dogs have a warm place to sleep for the holidays, plenty of food and attention, and a chance at a good life.

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