Nassau Humane Society helps in massive rescue
The call came Saturday, according to Nassau Humane Society Executive Director Jacki McDonald. Two rural Georgia properties used for breeding German shepherds were being closed down by law enforcement officials, and the Humane Society of the United States and Animal Aid USA needed help in rescuing hundreds of animals.
According to Holli Deal Saxon of the Statesboro Herald, Angela Belinda Powell of Ailey, Ga. was arrested last Wednesday and charged with felony animal cruelty.
Powell’s main operation, estimated to have had about 400 dogs, was located in Higgston, Ga. in Montgomery County, and the breeder also had about 160 dogs at a second location in Candler County. The dogs were being kept in “deplorable conditions” in large, livestock-type pens. The breeding operation had been going on for years, with neighbors complaining about the noise and the smells. Photos of the conditions gave law enforcement officers enough evidence to finally make an arrest.
McDonald said the dogs are being evaluated on location and then transferred to rescue groups. NHS has received five young adult dogs so far, and is expecting to get more. There are no puppies.
Claudine Wilkins, a former Cobb County prosecutor who founded a nonprofit called Animal Law Source, was at the scene of the rescue.
“We were walking in mud and feces up to our knees. It was so bad that the igloos that she had for the dogs were submerged in water so there was no place for these dogs to stand in a dry spot,” Wilkins said, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.
According to a NHS Facebook post, a local team “went to the smaller property to assist with some of the 165. Our rescue partner Animal Aid USA is on the larger property & transferring others to us next week. All dogs are being removed as a group effort by multiple rescue teams.”
NHS has been inundated with offers to help the dogs, but a NHS Facebook post notes “none of these dogs even know how to walk on a leash and all need extensive medical care.” The organization is not taking applications to adopt the dogs at this time.
Those who wish to help are asked to go to the NHS Facebook page and website for progress reports on the situation instead of calling, since their staff still needs to be able to handle calls for other animals.
“We always need volunteers,” according to the NHS Facebook post, “But these dogs are huge flight risks. If they get off of a leash, they will be gone. We have many other dogs that have been in our care for months that would love such awesome attention though.”
Volunteers can sign up for an orientation at nassauhumane.org/volunteer.
McDonald also asked that readers consider making donations via the NHS website,nassauhumane.org/donate, dropping off a check, or assisting with supplies via the organization’s Amazon Wish List. The shelter’s current needs are for paper towels, bleach and bleach wipes, laundry detergent, canned food of any kind, grain-free dry food, Martingale collars, dog shampoo, long-lasting chews, salmon/coconut oil, and gift cards for Walmart, Target, The Home Depot and pet supply stores.
McDonald added that anyone considering getting a dog from a breeder needs to do plenty of research. Another NHS Facebook post says: “Please research who you are supporting. Have you seen the parents in person? Are they used again and again to make puppies? Have you seen the property? Are they giving basic necessities of food, water, shelter and human interaction? No responsible, caring breeder sells puppies in pet stores or ships them off to anyone on the Internet.
“We will be taking in more of these German shepherds (from the larger property) in a few weeks via amazing rescue partners, Animal Aid USA & Guardians of Rescue. We’ll update when we have the additional dogs. Many, many rescue groups are helping with these hundreds of dogs.”