Whiteville, North Carolina – They are the adorable, but also the heartbreaking faces of disease; it happened when 27 puppies and three adult dogs were transported to Williamsburg, Iowa from a rural shelter in North Carolina. An outbreak of Parvo, a highly contagious and often sudden viral disease cost the lives of several puppies and threatened the economics of an animal rescue group.
Friends of the Animals of the Columbus County Animal Control united with the common interest of loving animals and a rallying desire to help homeless and stray animals from the perils of animal shelters. This group of 11 women volunteer from all over the US and the UK and network on Facebook, where they put together albums and ChipIn links; all to save and find foster homes, rescues, as well as permanent homes for dogs and cats who otherwise would have been euthanized simply because their time was up.
The rural Columbus County Animal Control provides little veterinarian care. Anyone can adopt an animal by presenting photo identification and paying a $25 adoption fee.
On May 12, an opportunity arose for 27 puppies and three adult dogs to be transported to Williamsburg, Iowa. Rinthea Satterlee of the Barkley Foundation had been in contact with the Friends of the Animals of the Columbus County Animal Control to arrange for the transport of puppies who were running out of time at the Columbus County Animal Control facility. At the start of the rescue, Satterlee thought health certificates would be issued for the dogs on the morning of the puppies departure, and that is where the confusion may have begun.
According to Melissa Impens, a representative of the Friends of the Animals of the CCAC states:
“This misunderstanding originally came from one of our fosters who had been fostering pups leaving on a separate transport. That person was getting health certificates for the puppies she had been fostering and the other pull coordinator believed when she heard “the pups” the health certificates applied to all of the dogs. Regardless, even if we could have found a vet to examine the dogs that morning heading to Iowa, there would not have been any guarantee that all of the dogs would have been given health certificates. None of the puppies had even been quarantined, and no vet would have issued a health certificate without an isolation period. Also, even if the dogs were vaccinated that morning, it takes time for their immune systems to take hold especially when it involves puppies. This was explained to Rinthea, and she was still willing to transport all of these dogs to her rescue and across state lines.”
On May 12, in a Facebook explanation, Satterlee wrote:
“We have quarantine areas for the puppies. There is no way we can afford $195 for each puppy. We can take them if we do the quarantine ourselves and just pay for the pull fee and health certificates. So is that not an option? Robin didn’t say it wasn’t an option. So if that isn’t an option that will be PTS even though we are willing and able to take 15-20 of them including mothers?” (sic)
Unfortunately communicable diseases can be frequent enemies of animal rescue and the shelters. Through animal supporters and the ChipIn link, Friends of the Animals CCAC were able to send the Barkley Foundation over $1000, and adoption fees had all been waived..
“It is our hope the Barkley Foundation knew that rural shelters can experience Parvo and other communicable diseases, and all dogs and especially puppies need to be handled with extreme caution and specific procedures such as wearing gloves when handling one puppy and removing those gloves and replacing them with fresh ones before handling another animal, keeping puppies feet off the ground, bleaching the areas that the do come in contact with and absolutely never bring a shelter puppy into your home until a vet has assured you that the animal is not contagious and no longer “shedding” any type of illness or disease. We are sending our deepest sympathies to the Barkley Foundation; the death and illness of all of these animals is just as devastating to all of us,” stated Impens.
If you would like to help the Barkley Foundation, please click here, or you may send a check to the Barkley Foundation, PO Box 588, Williamsburg, IA 52361.