From the dogstuff.com website, summer of 2000… and don’t worry, it has a happy ending!
Most of the 82 dogs discovered starving and disease-ridden at a home north of Houston Tuesday are now in the care of Texas rescue groups. The majority appear to be purebred Labrador Retrievers.
Volunteers from several breed rescue clubs around Texas worked late into the night Aug.18th, 2000 and the following morning to transport, bathe, medicate and begin caring for scores of stricken dogs.
National Labrador Rescue Coordinator Luanne Lindsey of Leander, (north of Austin,) said she found herself looking at “a sea of black skeletons” when she first saw the dogs at the Montgomery County shelter Thursday where they had been taken by authorities.
The dogs apparently were the victims of good intentions gone awry, Kelli Copeland, Montgomery County Animal Control field supervisor told reporter Harvey Rice of the Houston Chronicle.
She said the dogs were left unattended after a New Caney woman who had cared for them became ill and was hospitalized. She said no charges will be filed against the woman, who had been taking in homeless Labrador Retrievers since the early 90′s.
“I don’t think this is a blatant case of abuse or neglect,” Copeland told the Chronicle. “She got sick and became overwhelmed. I think her health condition and finances have been going downhill.”
Dozens of volunteers came to central rescue sites near Austin and Houston to begin the difficult task of caring for the emaciated and ailing dogs.
It will be a long road to recovery and safety for most of the dogs. Volunteers plucked hundreds of ticks, tended dozens of wounds and sores, and began drawing blood for heartworm testing on the stricken dogs.
But even as they stood shakily under caring hands, the affectionate nature of the dogs was apparent.. An emaciated black Lab the rescuers named “Adam,” because he was the first taken into care, crept on spindly legs into the arms of a rescuer Saturday. He seemed little more than skin, bones, sores, scars, hollow eyes and a thumping, wagging Labrador tail.
Borrowing from lessons learned during a mass rescue of 50 puppy-mill Golden Retrievers two years ago, the Texas rescuers set up receiving stations where each dog could be individually identified, photographed, treated for wounds, bathed, cleaned of parasites, and given a preliminary evaluation for temperament.
Additional chain-link paneled runs were hastily bolted together beneath spreading trees at Dick and Luanne Lindsey’s boarding and training facility north of Austin. Rescued Labs already in residence barked happily at the skinny new visitors who began arriving Friday night after a 180-mile journey, and at the dozens of volunteers who showed up right behind them Saturday morning to bathe, feed, and care for the new arrivals.
Another group of 20 dogs went by caravan to the home of Doug and Anne McGuire north of Houston, in a cooperative effort by German Shepherd and Golden Retriever rescue groups. Others had been dispersed to additional rescue groups by the overtaxed Montgomery County shelter, and Mrs. Lindsey was working to bring them all under the umbrella of Lab rescue to insure all the animals were safe and accounted for.
As much as they were starved for nourishment, the Labs seemed just as starved for affection and human contact. Mrs. Lindsey said most of the dogs had been confined together in an enclosed paddock without attention before authorities intervened. She believed they fought one another over whatever food they received, since many bore bite and claw marks. Rescuers who were focused on the serious business of assessing needs also stopped continually to hug, stroke and administer delicious tummy rubs to the dogs. Mrs. Lindsey said the improvement in the dogs’ attitude was remarkable after even a few hours in care.
The rescue groups, however, are looking at a lengthy and expensive medical recovery period for the dogs, and do not expect all to survive. Many showed initial symptoms of massive heartworm infection, which could be fatal in their weakened condition. For that reason, it may be months before most can even be considered candidates for adoption, and their medical care will be costly. Update: An immediate response from caring people around the world assured sufficient funds to provide for the dogs’ care. We are all very grateful for what you have done to help.