Monday, June 18, 2007

Animal Control prepares confiscated canines for adoption

This was one of my favorite stories from my summer as an intern.

By Megan Tilk
St. Joseph News-Press
Fifty-eight of Shirley Groves' 64 dogs were confiscated by St. Joseph Animal Control. Three now remain running around her large home.
It took officers three to four hours to rescue the 58 dogs at the home of 70-year-old Mrs. Groves on June 9. Of the 64 dogs found at the home, Mrs. Groves was allowed to keep three. A close friend of hers also was allowed to take home three dogs. The remaining 58 dogs were impounded by city animal control.
"I pray for my dogs. I love my dogs and I didn't mistreat them. I pray for them every day and I pray whoever gets them will understand them and that they will love that person and that person will love them," Mrs. Groves said.
Friends of the Shelter and other volunteers joined animal control to get the dogs ready for adoption.
"Due to the condition of some of the dogs when they came in and the fact that we are limited on space, we had to euthanize about half of the older dogs," said Rick Smith, manager of St. Joseph Animal Control. "Volunteers have been coming to help groom and prepare the dogs."
Danielle Hunt, with Friends of the Shelter, helped remove the dogs. "Myself and another volunteer were there to help get the dogs to the shelter and we dealt with immediate issues concerning the dogs. Several volunteers have been around throughout the week," Ms. Hunt said.
Although many had to be euthanized, officers and volunteers were surprised how healthy the others were.
"Their overall health wasn't too bad yet. Most were just matted, some had urine stains on their paws or were covered in fecal matter," Mr. Smith said.
"We were actually expecting more of them to have major medical issues than they did, luckily that wasn't the case," Ms. Hunt said.
Mrs. Groves faces one charge of failure to obtain a litter permit, one charge of allowing dogs in city limits without proper licenses and one charge of animal cruelty by not providing proper care, according to the city prosecutor. Her court date is set for July 18.
Although many of the dogs have already been adopted, there are a few remaining at the shelter. However, the dogs appear to have varied temperaments and have had limited social contact - two issues Ms. Hunt says people looking to adopt should keep in mind.
"These dogs came from a very different situation than most dogs who arrive at the shelter," Ms. Hunt said.
Mrs. Groves sends thanks to the people that have adopted the dogs.
"I pray people will come adopt the rest and love them and take care of them," Mrs. Groves said.

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