Fight Cruelty

Fulton County, New York—March 2011

The Case

Help A Hound Canine Rescue in Oppenheim, New York, had gradually accumulated 97 dogs in an area allocated to house just 25. Pit Bulls, Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Lab mixes and other breeds were living in exceedingly overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Many of the dogs were forced to live in filthy crates, while others were found roaming the property. Food and water were scarce, and many of the animals were clearly malnourished. The dogs were also suffering from a host of ailments, including malnutrition, skin and eye infections, and heartworm.

Public complaints and numerous visits from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department ultimately led the failed rescue to close down, and in March 2010, the two women who owned Help A Hound voluntarily relinquished custody of the animals to the Montgomery County SPCA.

“The owners took in unwanted dogs from across the country, many from the South,” says Jeff Eyre, ASPCA Northeast Director of Field Investigations and Response. “In this case, the women became overwhelmed by the number of dogs in their care—they obviously needed help."

The Intervention

On March 10, ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team members arrived in Fulton County to help the Montgomery County SPCA with the removal and placement of the Help A Hound dogs. First, ASPCA and other responders evaluated every dog removed from the rescue, making sure all were examined and received the medical care they needed. Next, we looked to our partner agencies to help give these dogs a second chance at finding loving homes.

The Aftermath

With the generous assistance of local law enforcement, the team placed the animals with various partner animal welfare agencies. "Thanks to the combined efforts of our partner agencies, these dogs now have a second chance at life," says Eyre.

He adds, “It’s a tremendous strain on local agencies when they’re suddenly faced with caring for a large number of animals. The Montgomery County SPCA stepped up to the plate where resources were severely lacking, and the ASPCA committed to helping them care for these dogs and place them with the appropriate rescue groups.”

Agencies assisting the ASPCA on scene and with placement include: Lollypop Farm (Fairport, N.Y.); Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society (Menands, N.Y.); SPCA Serving Erie County (Tonawanda, N.Y.); Ulster County SPCA (Kingston, N.Y.); SPCA Serving Allegany County (Wellsville, N.Y); Columbia Greene Humane Society (Hudson, N.Y.); Saranac Technical Rescue Team (Plattsburgh, N.Y.); St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center (Madison, N.J.); Finger Lakes SPCA (Bath, N.Y.); Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter (East Hanover, N.J.); and Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association (Ledgewood, N.J.). As part of the emergency relief efforts, PetSmart Charities® provided supplies, including pet transport carriers and crates.