After a May 2 raid on the Trixie Foundation, a no-kill animal shelter in Webbville, more than 100 animals were left with nowhere to go, until a local rescue stepped in.
The 104 dogs and four cats are under court-ordered custody of TLC Rescue in Clearfield and are doing better, Julia Sharp, executive director of TLC and medical foster coordinator of the project, said.
“They are responding beautifully to being safe,” she said. “The first day, you could tell they were scared, but now they look like they have some hope.”
The rescue created a triage area for preliminary assessment of the animal. TLC is responsible for all veterinary care and will authorize fosters to take the dogs to their personal vets for additional necessary treatments. Fosters are required to sign a legal document stating they will maintain custody until the court case is resolved.
Randy Skaggs, founder of the Trixie Foundation, was charged with 12 counts of improper disposal of dead animals and is set to be arraigned June 25. He also is scheduled to go to trial on charges from 2018, including 179 counts of animal cruelty and 170 counts of failing to vaccinate.
“I’m just a tiny, tiny rescue and can just help a few dogs a year, so this is kind of a big thing,” she said. Of the 104 dogs taken from Trixie, Sharp said she has lost six. “Their medical conditions were too far gone. It’s been hard to be faced with this much suffering and neglect.”
Twenty-eight dogs are awaiting foster care, she said.
Many of the dogs were hound, beagle and lab mixes, Sharp said, but they also found a miniature pinscher that had been surrendered when the owner was no longer able to care for it.
“The vast majority of these dogs have extremely, extremely advanced dental disease,” she said,. “Many of them have tumors. There are eye infections and ear infections.”
It was a story of the survival of the fittest, she said.
“Some of the dogs were fine as far as weight goes, the bigger and stronger ones,” she said.
Among the sad stories are stories of hope.
“Pooh has a medical condition that she can’t walk. It could have been fixed had she had proper vet care. This injury is fixed every day,” Sharp said. “She was left in one spot and had begun to starve to death. When we got her, she couldn’t lift her head. I had expected her to be the next one euthanized. “
Sharp said they fed her and were surprised to find her perk up.
“By the end of the day, she was picking her head up. The next day, she was standing up. She just needed food and water. … She has such a will to live.”
Once word got out about the raid on Trixie, Sharp said, they have been contacted by many individuals checking to see if their lost dog had been found there.
“In spite of the fact the rescue has been overwhelmed, we’ve responded to every message to look for their animals,” she said. “Some of the volunteers of Trixie are helping. People are going to extraordinary effort to help people find their animals.”
While any help is appreciated, the rescue is asking those who wish to volunteer to stay home because of COVID-19 and space issues.
“The triage area is a tight location and outsiders can bring COVID-19 to the rescue,” Sharp said. Only approved groomers, veterinarians/vet techs, or approved fosters coming to pick up dogs are admitted. PPE is required at the triage site and those who come must supply their own masks, sanitizer and gloves.”
Tara Bassett, a TLC Rescue volunteer and operations coordinator for the rescue, said the enormous task of removing so many ailing animals was handled beautifully by a team of women older than 50.
“Julia has a tremendous stress on her — running triage in a small building, cleaning it all day every day,” Bassett said, adding the pandemic made it especially challenging. “She built outdoor shelter to add space. They’ve had to endure cold and storms and heat. They’ve just done an amazing job.”
Sharp said the job was intimidating.
“It was a big and scary situation,” she said. “But what were we going to say, we can’t do it because there’s a pandemic going on?’”
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To donate to TLC Rescue, visit the rescue’s Facebook page, use Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check to TLC Rescue, P.O. Box 112, Clearfield, KY 40313.