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June 27, 2017 — Over the past week, Alaqua Animal Refuge has been the lead in a case in Vernon, Florida where a large amount of animals were left to the care of Alaqua after their owner passed away. The woman, a breeder of Great Pyrenees, once bred award winning dogs but over the past ten years her physical health had deteriorated to the point that she was wheelchair bound. The dogs began a downward spiral of their physical condition and the elaborate yards built to hold them no longer did. Uncontrolled breeding and lack of care for the dogs had been going on for years and the scene was deplorable.
Thirteen of the dogs and ten of the cats—the critical, old, and young—were brought to Alaqua Animal Refuge for urgent care. Yesterday, the remaining 55 dogs and nine cats were removed and it was no small feat. Alaqua was joined by 12 rescue groups and organizations from the Northeast and Southeast U.S. to aid in this monumental and impressive rescue effort. After a week of extensive planning and coordination, it took a total of 45 people with all hands on deck all day to get the dogs out of the house and off the property.
Our most gracious thanks to the following groups that joined us and helped: The Lucky Puppy Rescue; The Humane Society of the United States; Great Pyrenees Club of America; Tri-County Humane; Big Fluffy Dog Rescue; Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue; Leon County Humane Society; Big Bend Disaster Animal Response Team; Great Pyrenees Rescue of Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team; Florida Great Pyrenees Rescue & Club; and Florida State Animal Response Coalition.
A special and heartfelt thank you to The Lucky Puppy Rescue who was instrumental in providing essential daily food, water and care for these dogs until they all could be rescued. Creating a relationship with these dogs and connecting with them early was key to this rescue mission and it also reduced stress on the dogs.
Thank you also to Holmes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Page Fleming and Tyler Harrison for coming out to help us evaluate the situation.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Kevin Crews, and his deputies who were incredibly supportive in this case and were on the scene before, during, and after. The relationship with Sheriff Crews and his team is an invaluable one, and we know at Alaqua that so many animal’s lives—both present and future—depend on it. Thank you, Sheriff Crews!
This was certainly a team effort, based on a passion and love for these majestic animals. From the first dog that was taken out of the house and walked on a leash to his transport to the last one that had to be carried out because he could barely walk—their eyes told their life stories. It made us teary. It made us smile. It filled us with love and appreciation. Mostly, it made us peaceful.
To Help Us in our Rescue Efforts
We are still in need of funding to cover our enormous amount of expenses, especially in medical evaluations and treatments. All donations are helpful and we continue to thank our supporters – we couldn’t do this without YOU!