When “no-kill” animal shelters and rescue groups are filled to capacity, which is almost always, they are left with two options: turn away more animals than they take in or warehouse animals, often in substandard, filthy, and severely crowded conditions, for weeks, months, or even years on end. Most, if not all, of the animals who are turned away from such facilities still face untimely deaths—just not at these facilities.
Instead they are cruelly killed by people who don’t want them, are dumped on roadsides and left to die from starvation or being hit by a car, or spend their short lives homeless, unwanted, and producing more litters of animals for whom no homes exist.
The lucky ones are taken to well-run open-admission animal shelters, where they either find a well-screened, permanent home or are painlessly euthanized in the arms of professionally trained, compassionate people. Here are some of the “no-kill” animal shelter failures that made headlines in recent years for making animals suffer a fate far worse than a kind death.
April 9, 2013/Goochland County, Virginia: WWBT-TV reported that the operator of The Pet Rescue Foundation was banned from "having any kind of pet" after authorities charged her with cruelty to animals. Five dogs removed from the "rescue" were in such poor condition that they required immediate euthanasia. Seventy more dogs were removed for assessment and care.
March 25, 2013/Miami, Florida: The Miami News Times reported that Have a Heart Dog and Cat Rescue "looks more like a haunted house" than a rescue. The facility, operated by an apparent hoarder, was under investigation after county officials received complaints about "painful howls piercing the night" and "mangy, sore-ridden dogs" living in filth. CBS Miami reported that neighbors took pictures inside the home that show several dogs living in filth, the floor covered in garbage, rotting furniture, and dog feces.
March 20, 2013/Elma, New York: The Buffalo News reported that
authorities raided Smilin' Pit Bull Rescue and charged the owner with cruelty to animals. Five dogs were removed in response to allegations, including "that dogs had
been denied veterinary care for injuries or illnesses and had deteriorated while in the group's care [and that] dogs had been confined to crates for extended periods."
March 9, 2013/New Port Richey, Florida: After New Port Richey handed over much of its animal control operations to volunteer "no-kill" fanatics in an attempt to reduce costs, the Tampa Bay Times opined that the "New Port Richey's animal control experiment is failing, and the
city must repair or replace this amateurish department with a professionally
led effort." Continuous problems, complaints, and cover-ups were cited as
well as the resignation of a professionally trained animal control officer who
reported that the unit "allowed sick animals to suffer rather than violate
the department's self-adopted no-kill policy."
March 1, 2013/Santee, South Carolina: The Times and Democrat reported that the operator of Coastal Jack Russell Terrier Rescue "was ordered to stop 'rescuing' dogs … after she was charged with three counts of ill treatment of animals." The "rescue" reportedly confined dogs "in advanced stages of malnourishment … in need of food, water and medical attention." It was also reported that "dogs were left to sit in cages, pens and crates amongst excessive amounts of feces and urine." Bags of dead dogs were found "in the vicinity" of the sick and starving animals at the property. The appalled judge on the case stated, "I saw the
pictures. … I am very adamant that she have no animals under her control. None!"
February 24, 2013/Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that officials raided a property connected with Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue, where "28 malnourished German Shepherds and shepherd mixes, including a puppy, a pregnant female and one dog so old and sick it had to be euthanized" were removed. Conditions reported by law-enforcement officials were horrific: "Every place in the building
was covered with urine and feces," an official told the Inquirer. According to the article, the
official also noted that dogs had been packed into crates and locked in rooms. Reportedly,
the "rescue" had previously been cited "in connection with an illegal dog transport bringing dogs from a North Carolina shelter to [the facility]. [The operator] was charged with purchasing dogs in a public place.
The driver of the transport van was cited for housing animals in filthy cages and 17 dogs were seized by humane officers."
February 22, 2013/Nixonton, North
Carolina: The Daily Advance reported that the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Department removed more than 70 cats from Angela's Angels Cat Rescue. Cats were reportedly released to the "rescue" by open-admission animal shelters in an attempt to increase their "live release rates." The cats were found in "squalid conditions," and
"the majority of the offices [were] filled with cats."
February 22, 2013/Willoughby, Ohio: Fox 8 Cleveland reported that authorities seized 85 cats and three dogs from the Western Reserve Humane Society in what was called "one of the largest cases of animal hoarding ever in Lake County."
The county humane officer was quoted describing conditions: "We couldn't breathe, eyes were burning, throat was burning. … The animals were very ill. A lot of them sneezing, eye discharge, just lethargic, skinny. … There was one cat that was missing all of its fur — scabs, crusty skin all over. Every corner you turned, there was a cat that needed help." The facility's operator was
convicted of cruelty to animals.
February 21, 2013/Parkville, Maryland: CBS Baltimore reported that the operator of Baltimore Animal Rescue Network (BARN) was arrested and charged with 23 counts of cruelty to animals. Authorities explained that BARN "was a fraud, and accuse[d] its leader of not helping but abusing animals." The investigation revealed that, "conditions [at BARN] were just unsanitary. The dogs had very little room to move, they were crowded together and the conditions were just filthy." BARN had reportedly been allowed to remove animals from open-admission animal shelters in an attempt to increase its "live release rates." Police seized 18 puppies and five dogs from the property. Five of the puppies were in such poor condition that they required immediate euthanasia.
February 19, 2013/Kirkwood, New York: WBNG-TV reported that 58 cats and 15 dogs were seized from the Humane Enforcement and Animal Rescue Team (HEART), a "no-kill" organization that confined animals in cruel conditions that "caused illness and suffering."
February 15, 2013/Nogales, Arizona: KVOA-TV reported that a "longtime animal advocate in Nogales is facing two counts of cruelty to animals after animal control officers found 11 dogs living in deplorable conditions inside her home." An animal control official said the department was "shocked to find the 11 dogs living under such poor conditions, 'we put our trust in her because she was a rescuer. She came to our shelter to rescue animals and adopt. She'd go to Petsmart in Tucson and adopt the animals and never did I imagine that we were going to find this situation.'"
February 14, 2013/Rhea County, Tennessee: WRCB-TV reported that the operator of Save My Tail animal "rescue" was arrested on charges of cruelty to animals after officials found a reported 40 dogs at his property, many crammed "[t]hree and four and five dogs to a pet carrier, with feces all in it and no food or water." Several dogs showed signs of parvo, mange, and malnutrition. The "rescue" operator, a former volunteer with the local county animal shelter, reportedly "sent friends to adopt dogs from the county shelter, only so he could find them homes."
February 14, 2013/Elrose, Saskatchewan: CTV News reported that a woman running a no-kill "shelter" at her home was charged with animal neglect. After approximately 70 cats were removed from the home, a veterinarian testified that "one of the cats died in the home and had been partially eaten by the others. [The] [c]ourt also heard that the cats didn't have enough food and were living in their own feces."
January 31, 2013/Aiken County, South Carolina: WJBF-TV
reported that complaints led animal control officials to the property of Charlie's Angels Rescue (CAR), where they found nearly 100 dogs, half of whom were packed inside the home. Volunteers had reportedly filed complaints with authorities alleging that many of the dogs were being denied adequate treatment for heartworm infections. One volunteer claimed that the "rescue" operator stated online that CAR "only [has] funds to treat the young, not the old, so they'll die in a year."
January 30, 2013/Schoharie Valley, New York: The Times Journal reported that a
woman hoarding at least 100 cats in a home that was "overwhelming with the smell of feces and urine pervasive and furniture and even sheetrock destroyed by the cats, most of whom were kept in stacked cages and crates in very tight quarters," had called a local "no-kill" shelter a year and a half earlier but was put on a waiting list. Law-enforcement authorities intervened and removed the cats as well as "67 dead cats and kittens in a refrigerator freezer, each individually wrapped in plastic bags." The living cats suffered from fleas, wounds, dehydration, and upper respiratory illnesses.
January 26, 2013/Winston County, Alabama: ABC 33/40-TV reported that after finding dead dogs on an adjacent property, the uncle of one of two volunteers at the Walker County Animal Shelter called authorities. The uncle said that his niece, who was living with him, and another shelter volunteer had started "bringing home more and more animals from the shelter." The shelter permitted her to take dogs off the property with the assumption that they were being adopted or "fostered out." Both volunteers were charged with 23 counts of cruelty to animals, and authorities seized 23 dogs, seven of whom were euthanized because of severe illness and disease.
January 13, 2013/Brooks, Oregon: Humane and sheriff's officials raided Willamette Animal Rescue, where more than 140 dogs were found starving and stuffed into tiny stacked travel carriers amid their own waste and without access to water, after reportedly being "saved" from euthanasia at an open-admission animal shelter in California. Animals were found with their eyes sealed shut with mucus and pus, and urine and excrement were dripping onto them from the cages above. One dog was confined to a carrier so small that "he was unable to lie down, sit or stand up." The Oregonian reported, "Some of the dogs were in such an advanced state of starvation that technicians will have to use a 'refeeding program' to reintroduce small amounts of easily digestible food."
January 9, 2013/Surrey, British Columbia: The Province reported that Forgotten Felines Rescue (FFR) was fined and permanently banned from operating. The shelter's founder was also banned from having more than four cats at any given time. The British Columbia SPCA stated that complaints about conditions at the "rescue" had been lodged since 2002 and that the number of complaints from volunteers rose in 2007 when FFR was housing more than 300 cats in a filthy shelter, many areas of which lacked heat. Inspections over the years found cats at the facility "suffering from distemper, feline leukemia, ringworm, fleas and upper respiratory infections. Two dead cats were discovered as well. Even though water was present, some cats and kittens were dehydrated. Urine and feces were present and litter boxes were full."
January 7, 2013/El Paso, Texas: Calling it a "scam," a volunteer with No Kill El Paso told ABC-7 that veterinarians had informed her that "puppies had been abandoned by [founder John] Conwell, bills were going unpaid, foster parents couldn't reach him for reimbursement and dogs were dying." When confronted, Conwell reportedly dissolved the group and changed his phone number. He is also accused of "transferring donations from the 501c's account to his personal account" and leaving the group with $10 as well as "soliciting donations for a shelter on [the group's] website, promising to build on property he doesn't own."
January 7, 2013/Simi Valley, California: The owner of Healing Hearts Animal Rescue was cited for failure to obtain veterinary care for sick, dying, and dead animals found at the group's facility. The Ventura County Star reported, "Investigators determined that at least some of the puppies came from a Kern County shelter. [An investigator] said the shelter charged about $25 per dog. He found records that showed the dogs were then sold in Simi Valley for $300 or more."
December 10, 2012/Fort Worth, Texas: After 91 sick and neglected cats were found crammed into a trailer belonging to an "overwhelmed cat rescue," a Fort Worth Animal Control official told WFAA.com that it "would take a lot more staff than we have right now to do monthly, quarterly, whatever checks" on "rescue" groups to which the city releases animals. In an effort to increase the city's "live release rate," the shelter had been releasing animals to the "rescue," where Humane Society of Northern Texas investigators found the "extremely thin" and sick animals living amid feces.
November 30, 2012/Andalusia, Alabama: The Andalusia Star News reported that Sharlotte Marie Adams, the operator of Animal Aid and Rescue Resources, Inc., was arrested for fraud after setting up a Facebook page and making urgent pleas for funding for veterinary care and needed supplies. More than $25,000 in cash donations was reportedly used to pay for personal expenses. Police found 26 animals in criminally cruel conditions at the home. None had reportedly seen a veterinarian, and many had severe infections and illnesses.
November 28, 2012/Mercer County, West Virginia: The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported that the publicly funded Mercer County Animal Shelter is refusing to accept animals when the shelter is full. The shelter director told the paper, "What we're doing is this — we are not accepting them if we don't have space."
November 23, 2012/Georgetown, Texas: The Austin American-Statesman reported that two years after becoming a "no-kill" facility, the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter's intake "has increased by 500 to 600 animals a year." The shelter "is so full that it doubles up dogs in its 79 kennels." A shelter official told the paper that there has been an increase in the number of strays and animals surrendered by owners. The number of surrendered animals increased 64 percent from 2010 to 2012.
November 19, 2012/DeLand, Florida: City Attorney Darren Elkind described the Animal Rescue Konsortium (ARK) to a courtroom as "not a no kill shelter — it is a slow kill shelter." On November 8, officials raided the ARK facility and removed nearly 130 cats and dogs who were reportedly housed in poor conditions. Veterinarians testified that numerous cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections, and the court heard "testimony of maggots found in water dishes, eight overflowing litter pans for 27 cats in one upstairs rooms [sic] and other problems such as no food or water readily evident." An agreement forbids the group from using the home to house animals in the future.
November 15, 2012/Williams Township, Pennsylvania: The Morning Call reported that the "consistently high population at the [community's] no-kill shelter has pushed it to mostly close its doors to new animals." The local shelter, Center for Animal Health and Welfare, ended contracts to house animals for local municipalities despite the continued and urgent need. Wendy Benedict, president of the center's board of directors, told the paper that "the center has seen a rise in abandoned animals and often finds dumped dogs tied to its fence or kittens stuffed in a crate on its doorstep." Despite the rise in abandonments, another board member, Dan Roman, said that until the number of animals at the shelter declines, "Don't bring your dog here."
November 9, 2012/Muncie, Indiana: Muncie's ABC website reported that more than five dozen dogs were removed by officials in a raid on Adopt A Lab animal rescue where "they were found living in filth." The dozens of dogs were reportedly crammed into a single-story ranch-style house, "which was covered in urine and feces."
November 8, 2012/Ingham County, Michigan: Like all open-admission animal shelters, the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter does not have the option of turning its back on an animal in need. The shelter's director explained to WILX news that "we don't have the luxury of saying, 'No, we're full, you'll have to come back later on.' We have to accept the animal. We're getting hit by shelters around us that are closed admission."
October 26, 2012/Los Angeles, California: After visiting one of Los Angeles Animal Services' shelters (which have been under attack and pressure by "no-kill" proponents for years), a Los Angeles Times reporter described severe crowding, including, "pit bulls with weary eyes and wagging tails, crammed three and four to a cage" and the need for emergency veterinary care for a German shepherd "being treated for ugly neck wounds from an attack by kennel-mates, a scenario that is becoming all too common as shelter crowding rises."
October 26, 2012/Bibb County, Georgia: The Telegraph reported that a 100-plus–page evaluation of the Bibb County Animal Welfare shelter found that "under a former interim director when the shelter was under oversight of the city of Macon, emphasis was placed on low-kill or no-kill shelter operations." The report said that this "led to overcrowded conditions in the facility." The report condemned the shelter for poor and inaccurate recordkeeping and, according to the newspaper, stated that "an unidentified former employee directed staff not to document litters of puppies and kittens in case they were euthanized. … [T]hey were only put into the computer system if the animals were adopted. The same former employee directed other shelter workers to release feral cats through a hole in the fence adjoining the landfill."
October 25, 2012/Blount County, Tennessee: The Daily Times reported that "after the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [BCSPCA] investigated complaints of noise and animals running loose" at Double A Pit Bull Rescue and found dogs confined without food or water, the owner of the "rescue" surrendered 14 dogs, four of whom had been removed from the county animal shelter with the belief that they would be placed into permanent homes. The rescue's founder Angela Burruss said, "I accept my part in it. I was not fully prepared. I was not ready for the onslaught of need. I hadn't braced myself for the overwhelming needs of the animals." BCSPCA President Gino Bachman said of the animals, "There was no food, no water, and they were in a confined area. … She put the cart before the horse and took on more animals than she had resources for and she couldn't handle it."
October 25, 2012/Longview, Washington: A pit bull allegedly bit his owner after the man hit him for eating a box of doughnuts. The next day the man beat the dog to death with a sledgehammer. He reportedly told the community's animal control supervisor that he didn't take the dog to the local humane society instead because he couldn't afford the shelter's fees. A humane society representative told a PETA caseworker that the shelter requires an appointment to accept any animal and that a fee of $105 would be charged for it to accept a 55-pound dog for euthanasia because of aggression.
October 23, 2012/Lancaster, Pennsylvania: After an announcement by the Humane League of Lancaster County that it decided to become a "no-kill" shelter, 44 municipal contracts were ended. Tom Hickey, a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board, told The Inquirer, "When people hear no kill, they think it's a good thing, it's not a good thing. … They are selectively picking which dogs live. Where are the dogs that don't fit the criteria, namely pit bulls and puppy mill survivors that need extensive rehabilitation, going to go?"
October 18, 2012/Pasadena, Maryland: The Maryland Gazette reported that a man claiming to operate an animal rescue out of his home was charged with 134 counts of cruelty to animals after a September 27 raid by officials who found sick and dead animals at the property. The man said that he was "well-connected among the region's animal shelters and would receive calls from rescue facilities filled to capacity."
October 17, 2012/Austin, Texas: The foster coordinator at Austin Animal Services sent an urgent e-mail reporting that "as we get 'full' we are 'buddying' up big dogs. We are putting 'temporary' housing up in the cat building to hold more cats. That is literally HUNDREDS of animals that [are] in places that they simply shouldn't be. We are having yet another huge over population issue this week, perhaps the worst we have seen in the year we have now been on Levander Loop. Our largest partners, Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society are full."
September 14, 2012/Bangor, Maine: In an attempt to reduce euthanasia at the Bangor Humane Society, the shelter reportedly "stop[s] accepting surrendered animals for brief periods." Shelter staffers reported that the previous week, they had to ask a woman with a "boxful of cats and kittens" she wanted to surrender to wait until they had space. The woman reportedly "yelled and screamed at the staff." The executive director said that when the shelter staffers have to turn people away, they "pray the person will hold on to that animal for a few more days until space opens up. We pray that they won't choose to leave the animal on the side of the road, or worse. We try to do our best to assure them it will be for just a day or a few days and then we hope for the best. But in truth our hearts sink when they walk out."
September 13, 2012/Fort Worth, Texas: In a news report, Fort Worth's code compliance officer stated that citizens will "dump [animals] regardless" of the animal shelter's new policy to refuse to accept unwanted animals from their owners in a move to become a so-called "no-kill" facility. The new policy was implemented even though nearly 3,500 animals were signed over by citizens unable or unwilling to care for them in the last fiscal year. Private area shelters and rescue groups report that they are ill-equipped and unprepared for the likely increase in calls and intakes that this will cause. Tammy Hawley, operations director of the Humane Society of North Texas, said that there's no simple way to solve the problem of irresponsible pet owners. "The kind of people who typically give up animals to animal shelters are not always the most vested owners anyway."
September 13, 2012/Corpus Christi, Texas: Area animal shelters report that they are filled to capacity and that homeless, roaming animals in the area are at "epidemic" levels. The shelter director at "no-kill" Pee Wee's Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary stated, "I get 75 calls a day, and people get angry because I can't take 75 animals a day. If you multiply 75 times 365 days a year, I would have to take in 27,000 plus animals a year." The Gulf Coast Humane Society director reports that his shelter "turn[s] people away right and left."
August 27, 2012/Wilburton, Oklahoma: The owners of the Cajun Country Ranch animal "rescue" pleaded guilty to charges of animal abuse and child neglect and were sentenced to five years of probation after authorities found the floor of the couple's home covered with feces and cockroaches. The couple's three children were taken into state custody, and authorities seized more than 70 animals.
August 20, 2012/Fort Pierce, Florida: The operator of Sanctuary Animal Refuge was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing money donated to care for some of the more than 150 animals who were later seized in a rescue in April 2011. She was also sentenced to five years for cruelty-to-animals charges. At the so-called "sanctuary," officials had found "malnourished dogs infected with heartworm and suffering from open and unhealed sores, mange, dehydration, diarrhea and fleas crowded into pens, lying in feces and urine."
August 18, 2012/Lake Worth, Florida: The "no-kill" organization Save a Dog, Save a Cat was reportedly under investigation when authorities found 23 live cats and two rotting cat corpses abandoned at the home of one of the group's founders. Investigators said that feces, trash, and hundreds of roaches were found in the house.
July 27, 2012/Austin, Texas: The city's Animal Services Department announced reaching "no-kill" status in January 2012. On July 27, 2012, The Austin Chronicle reported that the department was seeking a $1 million increase in funding because the Austin Animal Center (AAC) "is way past full. Hundreds of animals are in foster homes, and shelter staff have had to be creative in order to house the overabundance of animals sleeping under AAC's quonset hut roofs. As of last week, wire crates filled with kittens could be found on tables in the shelter's main conference room. For months, staff has been finding room for dogs in cages in the stray- and surgery-holding areas." A City Council member "referenced anonymous statements from shelter volunteers claiming that the staff is overburdened, that health and safety issues are being overlooked, [and] that they'd seen one dog receive chemical burns on the pads of its paws after being returned too quickly to a recently cleaned cage."
July 27, 2012/Millsboro, Delaware: The "no-kill" Delaware SPCA refused to accept two cats found abandoned in cages by a longtime animal advocate and cat rescuer at a vacant home where she had previously lived. The rescuer was reportedly advised to take the cats back to the vacant property and leave them there. She was charged by the SPCA with animal abandonment when she left the cats at the shelter instead.
July 25, 2012/Mesquite, Texas: A television news report showed the removal of 86 cats, some very ill, from a "tiny two-bedroom home" that was illegally used as an animal "rescue" called Halteman's Haven. Far from a haven, the crowded home where owner Keli Halteman hoarded animals had no air conditioning in the blistering heat of the Texas summer.
July 20, 2012/Northeast Mississippi: A local news outlet reported that some animals who are turned away from "no-kill" shelters are then "dumped alongside roads, abandoned at a neighbor's house or shot and killed." As a woman took her three dogs to an open-admission shelter, her husband said, "It was either that or shoot them."
July 17, 2012/Willis, Texas: Spindletop Dog "refuge" was raided by authorities who seized approximately 300 pit bulls found in tiny plastic carriers with no water and unable to stand up. According to a law-enforcement official, some dogs were seen drinking their own urine, and a police news report revealed that "[o]ne dog's feet were so scalded it was laying on its back in its own urine in feces, presumably to take the pain off of its feet."
July 9, 2012/Hebron, New York: The owner of the Peaceable Kingdom home-based "animal shelter" began a 60-day jail sentence stemming from a charge involving 54 counts of cruelty to animals related to the neglect of cats and dogs in her care. This was the second prosecution of the operator on charges involving dangerously inhumane conditions at her home.
May 14, 2012/Austin, Texas: It’s reported that after the city of Austin opened a new $12 million facility and proclaimed it to be “no-kill,” animal drop-offs skyrocketed and desperate officials asked members of the public what they were supposed to do. The “no-kill” policy is increasing the need to euthanize animals.
May 9, 2012/Springtown, Texas: The founder of the nonprofit Four Paws and Hooves Animal Rescue was arrested and faced multiple charges of cruelty to animals after law-enforcement officials found 58 dogs at the property. Many were stacked in crates; were covered with urine, feces, and vomit; and didn’t have food or water. The hoarder had removed hundreds of animals from some area animal shelters.
April 27, 2012/Porter County, Indiana: A Shelter Planners of America study assessed the Porter County Animal Shelter and reported that the shelter “should cease trying to call itself a no-kill shelter until it can reduce the number of animals” it takes in. The report says to do otherwise would result in severely crowded, unsanitary conditions, which could lead to illness, cruelty, and death.
April 27, 2012/Albion, New York: A People for Animal Welfare Society facility was shut down and nearly 100 animals were removed following an investigation by law enforcement into conditions at the animal shelter. The animals were turned over to the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, which reported that many of the animals suffered from untreated ear mites, upper respiratory infections, and chronic conjunctivitis.
April 3, 2012/Uvalde County, Texas: Authorities seized more than 150 animals from Friends of Uvalde Animal Shelter. One dog was found dead, and others were malnourished and living in crowded pens and cages.
March 6, 2012/Harmony, North Carolina: The owner of Stayin' Alive Dog and Puppy Rescue was charged with felony cruelty to animals after investigators found 31 dogs and one cat on her property. Four of the dogs were found dead outside. A live dog was missing both back legs, which had apparently been chewed off by some of the other dogs.
February 27, 2012/Lee, Florida: The owner of Caboodle Ranch, a self-proclaimed “cat rescue sanctuary” was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and scheming to defraud. Nearly 700 neglected cats were seized from the property in one of the largest cat rescues ever undertaken.
February 15, 2012/Attica, New York: State police raided the SPCA of Wyoming County and found more than 100 cats living in “deplorable” conditions.
February 14, 2012/Rock Hill, South Carolina: A York County judge ordered Saint Francis Animal Rescue to shut down because of hoarding conditions, after more 150 cats were found crammed into the “tiny” facility.
January 26, 2012/Summerdale, Alabama: Police found more than 200 dogs, cats, and horses in horrible condition, most either starving or dead, at Purple Hearted Puppies Animal Rescue. Some of the dogs had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Investigators found stacks of dead dogs in the facility and more dead animals buried on the property. Operators were charged with felony cruelty to animals.
January 17, 2012/Fayette County, Tennessee: The operators of Hearts for Hounds animal “rescue” in Long Beach, California, were charged with felony cruelty to animals when a state trooper in Tennessee pulled them over as they drove a U-Haul packed with 140 dogs and one cat, pulling a minivan also crammed with animals. Some dogs were in cages, while others were loose, and one dog was dead. The women were reportedly transporting the dogs to a farm near Roanoke, Virginia.
January 12, 2012/Allegany County, Maryland: After abruptly ending euthanasia at the county animal shelter, the facility came under fire from accusations including lack of leadership and accountability, poor management, and unsanitary, unhealthy conditions at the animal shelter.
January 6, 2012/Kern County, California: The operator of Best of Buddies was arrested on suspicion of felony cruelty to animals after officials found more than 200 animals, most of them dogs, suffering from neglect, dehydration, malnutrition, illness, and injury.
January 3, 2012/Texas City, Texas: Authorities raided Whiskerville Animal Sanctuary and removed dozens of badly neglected cats, at least 12 of whom had apparently starved or died from disease. Cats suffered from dehydration, sores, and respiratory infections and were covered in urine and feces.
December 30, 2011/Delhi, New York: The owner of Angel’s Gate animal hospice was charged with cruelty to animals, months after investigators searched the facility. The official investigation was prompted by an undercover investigation by PETA, which documented that paralyzed dogs dragged themselves around until they developed bloody skin ulcers while their wheeled carts hung on a fence unused, animals with open wounds and respiratory infections were deprived of veterinary examinations and care, and animals were kept in diapers for several days, causing urine scald.
November 17, 2011/Harrison County, Indiana: Authorities removed 36 cats, three dogs, and four chickens from Frisky Felines Foundation—an in-home cat “rescue”—and the Department of Child Services told the couple who ran it that their two children had to stay elsewhere. Harrison County Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue told one news reporter, “The smell of feces, urine, molding clothing and rotting food caused your nostrils to swell shut and made it difficult to breathe. There was feline diarrhea on the floor, and ... there was two inches of water in the basement and a mattress where it appeared one of the children slept. The entire scene was absolutely unbelievable.” A veterinarian who examined the animals said that half of the cats had an active upper respiratory infection and that some were infected with feline infectious peritonitis, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma felis.
October 18, 2011/Lambertville, New Jersey: The operator of North Carolina–based Saving Fur Kids was charged with 15 counts of cruelty to animals and faced other charges for posing as an animal rescue agency in order to obtain dogs from animal shelters and then resell them for profit at pet stores and in parking lots.
October 18, 2011/Deer Park, Illinois: The operator of Muddy Paws Dog Rescue was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for animal abuse and torture after allowing nearly 30 animals to starve to death.
October 3, 2011/Hebron, New York: Four people were each charged with 54 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals after authorities investigated the property of the Peaceable Kingdom Animal Rescue, which obtained animals from animal shelters purportedly to “rescue” them. Authorities said the animals were emaciated and dehydrated and had numerous medical problems that did not appear to have been treated, including mange, eye infections, dental problems, and diarrhea.
September 29, 2011/Clark County, Ohio: The operator of One More Chance Rescue was ordered never again to operate a nonprofit organization after nearly 400 animals were seized from filthy and cruel conditions. According to the lead investigator in the large-scale rescue of the hoarded animals, “The dogs were kept in very unsanitary conditions…no food, dirty, filthy water, just not a condition that you want to leave your worst enemy in, let alone your pet.” Seventy-eight dogs and 15 cats were found dead at the property.
August 31, 2011/East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana: One month after taking over operations at the parish’s animal shelter, Companion Animal Alliance was under investigation in response to allegations of extreme crowding and inhumane conditions. Authorities did find the animal shelter severely crowded and said that animals lacked sufficient food and water and wallowed in their own feces and that some dogs and cats were forced to live inside a men's bathroom. The animal shelter undertook emergency euthanasia efforts to reduce the “skyrocketing” population.
August 12, 2011/Surry County, North Carolina: After several failed inspections, the seizure of 23 dogs, and 23 charges of cruelty to animals, the nonprofit Animal Welfare of Surry County received a cease-and-desist order from the state’s Department of Agriculture. The purported rescue obtained dogs from animal shelters and then hoarded them.
June 29, 2011/Gordon, Alabama: The owner of Dirty Sally's Pet Pals, a so-called animal "rescue," was ordered to stop "rescuing" dogs and sentenced to two years of probation after authorities seized 197 dogs and 31 cats who were kept in deplorable conditions there. Prosecutor Patrick Amason stated, "I admire the judge for giving them a condition where they can't get involved in this kind of business again, because they will essentially try and do this again, and these animals don't deserve this. They don't deserve to live in these conditions, don't deserve not to have enough to eat."
July 18, 2011/Johnstown, New York: More than 300 animals were removed from Kelly’s Haven for Friends Animal Rescue after officials found them living in deplorable conditions “in a mixture of garbage, feces, urine and dirt.” In the basement, authorities found that “cages of dogs line the concrete block walls, the tops covered with empty dog crates, supplies and a plastic pool. The chain-link sides of the cages are laced with cobwebs, cardboard is falling from the ceiling and cats perch on the piles.”
June 7, 2011/High Springs, Florida: Police seized 697 cats from Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary. In March 2012, the couple operating the “sanctuary” pleaded no contest to 47 counts of cruelty to animals and was sentenced to 15 years of probation, along with fines and a prohibition on owning or rescuing any cats.
May 28, 2011/Ludowici, Georgia: The owner of Loonie Farms Animal Rescue was arrested after dozens of dead animals, some still locked in crates, were found on the rescue’s property.
May 3, 2011/Killeen, Texas: The operator of Killeen Animal Search and Rescue was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after authorities found a severely ill kitten and two dogs badly injured from rubber bands tied around their testicles in a crude attempt at home-neutering. Authorities seized 12 cats and 10 dogs from the home.
March 23, 2011/Apache, Arizona: More than 200 animals were removed and the owner of Colorado Animal Refuge was charged with cruelty to animals after authorities found dogs in dilapidated outdoor pens filled with feces, several suffering from open wounds, mange, malnourishment, and matted coats. The hoarder had relocated from Colorado after she was issued a cease-and-desist order demanding that she provide the animals on her property with proper care and sanitary living conditions.
March 15, 2011/Bonne Terre, Missouri: Nearly 200 animals were removed from the St. Francois Society animal rescue and the facility’s license was revoked after animals were found in crowded, illegal conditions. According to a news report, “Many [animals] suffered from hair loss and coughing. Dozens of cats were found inside trash-strewn rooms filled with cobwebs. Some of the animals appeared to have upper respiratory infections and possibly internal and external parasites.”
March 1, 2011/Horry County, South Carolina: Authorities seized more than 200 cats from Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary after an undercover investigation by PETA revealed that sick cats were kept stacked in cages without veterinary care in a warehouse.
February 11, 2011/Cook County, Illinois: Chicago authorities shut down Dazzle’s Painted Pastures Rescue & Sanctuary and charged its owner with neglect and cruelty to animals. Many of the more than 100 animals found were sick or dead.
November 10, 2010/Boone County, West Virginia: Authorities removed more than 100 animals from Safe Haven Animal Rescue Effort. Animals were suffering from starvation, skin diseases, and sores and were found in rusty metal cages in a barn.
October 28, 2010/Cumberland County, Pennsylvania: Investigators shut down 1 Life Rescue in Camp Hill after they found that more than 100 sick cats and dogs were living in severely crowded and unhealthy conditions.
September 29, 2010/Goochland County, Virginia: The operator of Pet Rescue Foundation was found guilty of inadequate care of animals.
September 1, 2010/Raeford, North Carolina: After repeatedly failing state animal welfare inspections, The Haven’s animal shelter license was revoked. The Haven continues to operate illegally.
August 10, 2010/Macon, Georgia: The Georgia Department of Agriculture ordered All About Animals Rescue to shut its doors after an investigation revealed severe crowding in the dilapidated building and cages.
July 12, 2010/Fallon County, Montana: Authorities shut down the Eastern Montana Humane Society and removed approximately 100 animals found “living in filthy, cramped pens and crates.”
January 23, 2010/Clarksdale, Mississippi: The Clarksdale-Coahoma County Animal Shelter was discovered to have crammed approximately 400 animals into a facility built to hold 60 dogs when contracted operators tried to run it as a “no-kill” animal shelter. The facility was raided, and all the animals were removed.
January 8, 2010/Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: The owner/operator of Tiger Ranch Cat Sanctuary was sentenced to two years of house arrest and 27 years of probation after a raid on the “sanctuary” resulted in the seizure of 497 cats—107 found dead on the property. Another 150 cats had to be euthanized immediately because of illness and injury.
November 26, 2009/Toronto, Canada: The Toronto Humane Society (THS) was raided and cruelty-to-animals charges were brought against THS leaders after the animal shelter turned into “what one investigator called a ‘house of horrors’—a place where infections ran rampant, animals lived in filthy conditions, food was scarce and a no-euthanasia policy led to sick animals suffering and dying without adequate medical care.”
October 5, 2009/Indianapolis, Indiana: Indianapolis Animal Care and Control Director Doug Rae was fired from his position after just 10 months on the job. Reasons for his dismissal included putting too much emphasis on adoptions and not enough attention on stray animals and leaving more than 2,000 animals on the streets. Rae was strongly supported in the position by “no-kill” advocates, including Nathan Winograd, who had previously stated, “I actually think Doug Rae is one of the best directors of operations that I have ever seen."
October 2, 2009/Marin, California: The Milo Foundation was shut down and 19 animals were seized after an inspection by the local humane society revealed that the facility was housing triple the number of dogs and cats allowed at the site and that animals were living in their own feces and were not receiving treatment for contagious diseases.
April 26, 2008/Santee, California: Investigators removed 26 animals from cruel and filthy conditions at Southern California Chow Chow Rescue and Transport, a home operating as a dog rescue.
February 1, 2008/Hendersonville, North Carolina: Hundreds of dogs and cats, who for years were hoarded, abused, and neglected, were removed from All Creatures Great and Small by the state of North Carolina, and the facility was permanently closed.
January 29, 2008/Conroe, Texas: After authorities investigated Furr Kids animal rescue, the owner of the operation agreed to shut it down. Dogs and cats were kept in a garage in tiny crates, and three were found dead.
PETA Saves Animals
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.