Thursday, May 21, 2009

Good rescues gone bad?

Author: Sara Enos

For more info: Email Sara at

There are heavy allegations surrounding a couple of “rescue groups” that have animal lovers and fellow rescuers in an uproar.

What really happens when you take a dog or puppy to a shelter or rescue facility? In most cases, the dog is vaccinated, spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and well cared for while an application process begins to help find a loving forever home. People understandably often assume that the label “rescue” automatically guarantees the employees, owners, and volunteers are good-hearted and will do what is best in interest of the dog. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as seen very recently in two separate cases.

Over the past several years, many complaints have stemmed from interactions with a rescue operating in Canton, Georgia by the name of Pit Prints, run by owner Amanda Conrad. These accusations from a number of reputable rescue groups only scratch the surface:

* Taking donations for dogs to re-home them, then dropping them for euthanasia at the Cherokee County Animal Control facility
* Listing dogs on her web site and soliciting money for their care, (without them ever being in her care)
* Not spaying and neutering her own two Pit bulls who have had two litters “by accident” and selling the puppies
* Listing and selling donated items on Craig’s List that are typically in high demand with rescue groups, (as well as various small animals)

Conrad has been said to say that she only takes aggressive dogs to be euthanized, however many have pointed a heavy finger at her for adopting out a human-aggressive Neapolitan Mastiff that attacked a woman and left her hospitalized. There was also surprise when certain dogs dropped by Conrad at Animal Control had microchips. When the previous owners were notified, they had a similar story; they brought the dog to Pit Prints and gave a donation, (some as much as $400.00) in return for Conrad to find a safe, permanent home for the dog.

It has been noted that members/volunteers of the following well-known organizations have all had bad relations with Pit Prints: Bama Bully Rescue, Jr. Humane Society, Pit Bull Rescue Central, K9 Rescue League, US Animal Protection, Fulton County Animal Control, and S.P.O.T.. The speculations from so many different people seem to be adding up to more than just a coincidence or a personal vendetta.

Now similarly to the accusations against Conrad, another Pit Bull rescue by the name of Southside Bulldoggin’ in Nashville, TN is under fire for having 261 dogs turned over for euthanasia at Metro Animal Control since 2006. Like Conrad, the owner’s brother stated that only aggressive or unadoptable dogs were turned over, yet the number, 261, remains to be a giant warning flag in the eyes of the rescue community. The group takes in donations for each dog it accepts.

Owner Casey Phelps is also under great criticism for having been charged with animal cruelty in 2006. Many are begging the question as to how she still operates a “rescue” with such charges.

For more information on this story, click on the video prepared by newschannel5.

Whatever the cases may be, when trying to help a dog in need, be sure to research the facility:

* Ask for veterinary references, (and call them)
* Ask other reputable rescue groups
* Ask about the application process, (do they require home visits, veterinary reference checks, spay/neuter, full vaccines, and microchips?)
* Visit the premises to see the living conditions of the animals

For more info: Email Sara at