Local animal rescue organizations answered the call for help over the long holiday weekend, following the shut down of an animal breeding facility in Adams County.
On Thursday of last week, Hapke Bernese Mountain Dogs Breeding in Clayton, Illinois was shut down after the Illinois Department of Agriculture negotiated the surrender of breeding licenses, reportedly for around 90 dogs. By the end of the day Monday, more than 300 animals have been removed from the site, with many coming to shelters in the Morgan County area.
The Protecting Animal Welfare Society, otherwise known as P.A.W.S. In Jacksonville was one of many organizations that came to the rescue over the weekend. Lisa Jackson, says she was alerted to the situation on Friday and P.A.W.S. was happy to be able to assist.
“Given the number of animals their were, they were reaching out to all the rescues they thought might be able to help. We were able to go up, and on the first day we were able to pull 27 dogs and 18 cats. We went back the next day and got 10 more cats, and two more dogs, and we thought that they were all taken care of.
At that time the agreement was that the owner would be able to keep some of the dogs, and by the time yesterday morning rolled around, the number he could keep was down to ten. So we got another call from the inspector asking if we could go up and pull more, so yesterday we went up and pulled 48 dogs out of there, which some of those we transferred out to other rescues. But the important part was to get them out of the situation.”
P.A.W.S. volunteers said over the weekend that conditions at the breeding site bordered on a hoarding operation, with the vast majority of animals being kept in small, overcrowded cages with little or no food, water, blankets or toys. Most of the animals removed from the site were dehydrated, malnourished, and had not been cleaned or bathed in quite some time.
Jackson says due to the sheer number of animals needing shelter and assistance, they had to transfer some to other area rescues, who were able and more than willing to help.
“Mandy’s Whine and Bark in White Hall took some. The Scott County Dog Rescue in Winchester was able to take a few, and that was out of yesterday’s pull. Prior to that on Friday and Saturday, the A.P.L. took several.
In all, P.A.W.S. Volunteers made three trips to Clayton over the weekend eventually bringing back 37 cats and 68 dogs. Officials with the Quincy Humane Society told WGEM Monday that they along with Quincy K-9, Felines and K-9’s Inc. from Chicago and the Animal Protective League in Sprigfireld were also involved in the rescue, with all of them taking animals into their shelters as well.
Jackson says it seems at one time, Hapke Bernese Mountain Dogs Breeding operation had staff who had taken care of the animals, as the majority of them who came to P.A.W.S. are well sensitized to interacting with humans. She says they all just need to decompress and get healthy after their ordeal.
Jackson says these animals will make great pets once they are healthy, and residents in the area who are looking for a pet, should consider adoption.
“This is a perfect example of why you should adopt an animal that’s already here, and already needs a home. Rather than, and I’m not saying all breeders are bad but, if you have not been to where your dog is coming from, then you don’t know what the situation is or the circumstances or are, that that dog came from. It’s just another example of why it is so important to adopt rather than buy.”
Jackson says P.A.W.S. is in need of assistance in both volunteers and supplies to ensure all of the extra animals on top of those that were already in house, are able to be taken care of before they find new homes.
Jackson says donations of dog and cat food, both wet and dry, kitty litter, toys, blankets and cleaning supplies are some of the things needed. She says the flat boxes, such as those you find canned food shipped in at the grocery store are also needed. The “box flats’ as they are called are good for use with the cats in their housing areas.
Jackson says as more are vetted and ready to be adopted, they can be found on the pet finder website under The Protecting Animal Welfare Society, and on the P.A.W.S. Facebook page. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the non-profit group, or volunteer or to even adopt a dog or cat, call P.A.W.S. At 217-243-PAWS, that’s 243-7297.