A Toledo-area animal rescue group is caring for a dozen new dogs as the result of a puppy mill raid in central Ohio.
Animal House Rescue is one of nine groups from across the state that received dogs into their foster program as the result of the Oct. 1 raid. The Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals and the Pickaway County Sheriff's Dept. removed 52 dogs from the property of an Amish farmer in Tarlton, said Teresa Landon, executive director of the OSPCA.
The small breed dogs -- which included pomeranians, schnauzers, dachshunds and chihuahuas -- were living in deplorable conditions , she said. Many of the dogs had severely matted fur soaked in urine and covered in feces and their cages were filled with piles of feces. Many had sores and bloody paws. The dogs were forced to drink contaminated water full of feces, slime, and parasites, Ms. Landon said.
“Some of the dogs were so matted that their breed could not be determined,” Ms. Landon said. "We are thankful that groups like AHR came forward to help in taking the dogs."
One of the dogs in AHR's charge is Hope, a dog who was originally identified as a Lhasa Apso, but turned out to be a Schnauzer underneath the piles of mats that where shaved from her tiny body.
"It took me almost three hours to shave her," said Gretchen Marks of Waterville who is fostering the dog. "Her mats were so thick that her tail was fused to one of her back legs. She couldn't have wagged her tail if she wanted to."
Besides not being able to determine her breed, the 1/2-inch deep mats also resulted in the group not discovering the 6-year-old dog has an old injury that will now need to be treated with surgery.
"The mats were acting like a cast," Mrs. Marks said. "Once they were shaved, we discovered she was limping."
The $1,400 surgery is scheduled for Oct. 19 with Dr. Gary Thompson at West Suburban Veterinary Hospital, 7609 Sylvania Ave., in Sylvania Township.
Dr. Thompson will fuse bones in the carpus in one of Hope's front legs. A full recovery is anticipated, Mrs. Marks said. After she recovers from the leg surgery, she'll go back in for a spay and dental at an additional cost.
"She has a long road to recovery ahead," Mrs. Marks said. "Besides her leg, she also has some social issues to work through."
The small dog is scared and unsure of herself and her foster family will work to socialize her through gradual exposure to different people and situations. She will learn to trust again through these efforts, Mrs. Marks said.
"She's already come a long way in less than two weeks," she said. "She's already housebroken, which is pretty amazing considering she had lived her life in a cage before now."
Animal cruelty charges against the farmer are anticipated, said Ms. Landon, who has been gathering before and after photographs and veterinary records as evidence for the Pickaway County Sheriff's Department The farmer signed surrender statements on 50 of the 52 dogs, so they can be adopted out even if the court case is pending, she said.
The Ohio SPCA, an all-volunteer organization, will be responsible for the veterinary bills for the 50 dogs, including those in AHR's care. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made through Paypal: email@example.com or by U.S. mail: Ohio SPCA P.O. Box 546 Grove City, Ohio, 43123. The group is not affiliated with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Donations can also be sent to Animal House Rescue, which will be responsible for food and other items the dogs will need during their anticipated three-plus month stay in their respective foster homes. The group accepts donations via a PayPal link on its website, www.ahrescue.org and checks can be sent to Animal House Rescue, P.O. Box 313, Neapolis, OH 43547
The group also needs new volunteers and foster homes, said Vikkie Lewis, a board member. Ms. Lewis can be reached at 419-276-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.