Two stories in today’s news bring attention to the fact that just because an operation calls itself a dog “rescue” doesn’t mean you don’t need to do due diligence before you adopt a pet from them. In the first report (above), a Missouri woman kept seventeen dogs in deplorable conditions on a property that has since been condemned, yet listed “Black Dog Rescue” on the Internet as licensed and claimed an affiliation with local chains tore PetSmart. Shirley Lafferty is now sitting in jail on a $46,000 bond, accused of animal cruelty and license fraud.
A second disturbing story (video below), also from Missouri, involves a suspicious dog “rescue” being run on the site of a breeding facility that had been shut down by state inspectors more than a year ago:
State inspectors cited the location 15 months ago for “accumulation of urine, feces and hair on the floor” and lack of outside shelter where “8 beagles only had 2 igloo dog houses.” That’s when it used to be called “Sunset Kennel.” It was run by breeder Ovella Lange, who supplied a chain of mall stores called “Pampered Pets.”
Last February, Lange forfeited her breeder license to the Missouri Department of Agriculture and agreed to auction off her nearly 300 dogs. Yet, we visited the same address, which now advertises as a dog rescue. We talked to Lange’s son Ryan Rumfelt during an undercover visit. He told us he started rescuing dogs in November.
Lange’s son seems to be running a very odd shelter, with more purebreed puppies than you’d expect to find, sold at prices more expensive than standard shelters.
The vast majority of dog rescues and shelters are devoted to saving lives and finding homes for unwanted pets. However, both of these stories make it clear that the word “shelter” or “rescue” is not enough to guarantee that the operation is run ethically and humanely. Before you adopt a dog, make sure the person you’re adopting from is licensed and has the best interests of the dogs in mind at all times.