Mentor's anti-puppy mill champion, Marilyn's Voice, Inc., does not sit back where dogs need help — so the rescue group became involved in the fate of almost 300 small dogs last week who were from a puppy mill just outside Shelby, about two hours southwest of Mentor.
The dogs' owner, an elderly woman in hospice care, surrended custody of about 240 Chihuahuas and 40 Shar-Peis to the Humane Society of Richland County on Tuesday.
The animals likely hadn't received food or water since her husband died of a heart attack a week earlier. The couple's son, who lives in New Jersey, was the one who called to report the situation; he had already begun cleaning the cages himself, but the job was far too overwhelming for one.
Read the Humane Society of Richland County's Facebook page Tuesday night:
Anyone looking to get their hands dirty and their hearts broken, there is much work to help 200+ dogs have somewhere clean to sleep tomorrow.
Within the "licensed kennel," two to four Chihuahuas were stored in wire cages stacked two high; larger-breed Shar-Peis were in a filty kennel building, 900 square feet with indoor/outdoor runs.
You can imagine the amount of urine and feces that collects from 300 dogs in a week's time. Rescuers couldn't determine some of the dogs' ages because they didn't have any teeth, a sign of long-term neglect. Many dogs also suffered individually from medical ailments such as untreated infections, parasites, skin diseases, eye conditions and overgrown nails, according to RedRover, a California-based national nonprofit organization that swooped in Wednesday to conduct medical, worming and flea treatments.
Aside from RedRover's troop of volunteers from nine states and Canada, about 15 volunteers managed to clean all the Chihuahuas' cages over six hours on Wednesday.
Cheryl Rauch, foster coordinator for Marilyn's Voice, was among those who cleaned and assessed dogs Wednesday and Friday.
“After seeing the conditions on Wednesday, Cheryl mobilized our fosters, and everyone stepped up to plate by doubling and tripling up on foster dogs so we could take as many as possible,” read Marilyn's Voice Facebook page on Friday. “We are happy to report that we were able to take into rescue 15 Chihuahuas from this horrible situation.”
Added foster parent Karla Miller Mccullough on Mentor Patch's Facebook page on Saturday, “They all had flea baths and warm beds and food and lots of love last night.”
By Saturday night, all but a handful of dogs were in the hands of Ohio-based rescues — a job well done, and what a relief for the victims.
This puppy mill's owner won't be charged on account of her severe medical condition. But why any breeder with prior animal cruelty convinctions would ever be allowed to operate a “licensed kennel” of nearly 300 animals makes my blood boil.
Perhaps it makes your blood boil, too. If so, learn more about Marilyn's Voice and its fostering opportunities from this website. Then contact your state representatives, Ron Young and Lorraine M. Fende (letters can be written at these links), and ask them to vote for State Bill 130, which would protect companion animals from suffering this way in the future.