What will 2014 bring to Bollinger County and the Stray Project?
The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) has closed down numerous rescues and dog breeders in 2013. Surely some closings were necessary due to substandard care of their animals. Others were closed due to minor imperfections: not following clone protocol as written by well-meaning agricultureand legislator representatives. Seems they were not written with the help of the rescues “in the trenches”, the world of small-time rescue.
According to an email received the Wednesday before “Thanksgiving Day” the MDA said they consider the Bollinger County Stray Project director, me, substandard and unfit to remain open.
The MDA’s letter stated they were not renewing our license in 2014.
That means we would be breaking the law by adopting out any pets after December 31. We could be punished by fine, by confiscation of all non-adopted pets in our care, and we or I could possibly end up in court with punishment levels of which I am unsure at this time. The truth is I am unsure what the future holds for the dogs and cats in our care and what punishment they may consign us.
This “process” has been in the works for almost two years. Those who attended the MDA former Director, Jon Hagler’s town hall meeting 2012 in Marble Hill will remember that several supporters attended, including an area breeder, who were at issue with some of the new standards after Proposition B passed.
Little guys like us were not considered and how well we manage our pets, our history, did not matter. A “one size fits all” legislation and management was the order-of-the-day. We don’t have deep pockets and yet animals in our care are notdying of disease or substandard care.
We manage the animals as if they were pets in spacious kennels for those who need to be contained. The lucky ones get to be in the house, most crated at night. The trained ones may get to sleep around our bed or loose in the living room. Those lucky dogs get to play in our yard, part of our 189 acre property with our own personal dogs. They are socialized, exercised, and trained.
According to the MDA, I break the “law” every day by allowing the “lucky dogs” loose on our property and I break it again by allowing our personal pets to intermingle with them loose on the property.
They want to close me down for the two “major” violations stated above. They also don’t like our $15,000 paver block flooring that covers every outdoor kennel. When we started rescue dirt pens were fine. Then they wanted rock covered pens. We put in cement blocks, better than the other methods. Now they want us to “seal” the cement with some type of surface product. They suggested Thompson’s deck sealer which will peel in short order from the scratching of dog claws running the fence line or peel from the pressure washer. The right way to seal would be a long term product used to seal basement wall leaks, at a cost to us over $3000.
I am told I only need to seal the shaded areas that don’t receive sun over a certain number of hours each day, the sun supposedly will kill lingering bacteria or disease.
At times the logic of the rules is unsupported…
It seems that the authors wrote the rules in July and forgot what fall, winter and early spring weather is too cool to “cook the cement”.
Unlike many rescues or shelters, we have isolation pens for strays or litters that need to be isolated until they are protected by their shots and we know they are not carrying contagious disease. The floors of our isolation pens are covered with non-penetrative surfaces, better products than Thompson’s.
Lucky for us State Legislator Shelley Keeney and State Senator Wayne Wallingford support us and our efforts to assist SEMissouri and Bollinger County residents. Senator Wallingford and his right-hand-man former Senator Bill Foster are trying to form a committee to write a new bill or make amendments to the current bill. They are working to change the law, the rules, that cripple our efforts to help our community and the abandoned or relinquished pets.
There was a new agriculture director, Richard Fordyce, a “man of the trenches”, who himself is a farmer who works Mother Earth and raises crops. Hopefully he will be understanding of the little guys, the small farmers and ranchers and the small rescues and shelters in rural Missouri.
Rumor is he may try to come to our area to discuss the needs of SEMissouri. I would love to show him our “substandard” facilities and explain how each dog came to be in our care, how we helped a caller who had no where else to turn, and how we brought many of the dogs or cats back to health without spreading disease and causing more suffering. I would like to show the powers that be why the little guys like us need to be understood and even praised for our work instead of punished.
What can you do? If you support our efforts, if you have been helped by us, if you’ve seen a difference in the number of strays along the road side, and if you would like to see us continue to help our community you can write to our legislators and offer your support and your reason for that support.
I received a call from a sales representative who sells dog food to veterinarians all over the State of Missouri. She wanted to adopt one of the Boston Terrier mix pups. She told me what she remembered about Bollinger County were the stray dogs running along the highway that were thin and seemed to be neglected orwere strays in need. She did not mention the beautiful woods and hills.
No matter the MDA decision, we plan to continue to help with spay vouchers to reduce the unwanted pets.
Without changes will we be able to adopt out pets, to take them here to rehabilitate them?
Please go to our FB site and check out the story of Audrey Hepburn, a severely starved female Boxer relinquished to us last week. Take a look at the pups who were found in the middle of Co Rd H thin to the bone. We are expecting a yellow Lab with a broken leg, found along the Castor River on Sunday. What will the future hold for the needy dogs of Bollinger County and the Bollinger County Stray Project?
Accepted strays and relinquished dogs:
… Starved and mange covered female Boxer, age 2.
… Four starved and dehydrated Australian Shepherd pups, age 8-10 weeks not claimed.
Adoptions, return to owner or placed in other rescues (6):
… Lucky Dealer: Golden Retriever type puppy adopted by St. Louis family.
… Cheers Patton: Aussie mix, white with chocolate on his head, adopted by Union MO family with a small child.
… Mother cat and her three remaining kittens all adopted: Project cats free and vetted.
… FREE, ten cats: age 1 year, all spayed or neutered house cats, litter trained. Well cared for, call 573-495-2033
… Mother and kitten are grey tabby, mom is PG, 3-4 mo old fe kitten, Zalma 222-6978
… Someone dumped 2 long hair tabbies: one dark tabby semi long, a white with tabby, and a black with white kitten. Call 573-495-2033
Dogs with Heartworm, Erlichia, special needs, or that were euthanized:
… German Shepherd and Pit type mix female, with us for almost two years, euthanized for dog-to-dog aggression.
Calls requesting assistance for dogs we did not admit:
… FOUND Sunday 12/22/13 on Co Rd 820, just past H and 34 junctions by 1.5 miles: Young Lab type dog, broken leg found along the Castor River.
… LOST 12/5/13 near Advance funeral home: Blue Heeler male, about 12 weeks of age, may be a mix, but looks pure, black-white with red on his legs. Kid’s dog and a reward.
… LOST 11/23/13 Glennon area on Highway T, 2 miles from 91: Fiest female, black with white, 16-18 pounds, age 10 months.
Miscellaneous and contact info:
We are caring for 69 dogs and pups on the Neville’s property. We were flooded in Saturday morning through Monday.
Please report animal abuse and discourage anyone from dumping dogs or puppies.
The mothers of three litters in our care were not fed properly before whelping. They came to us underweight to grossly underweight. Puppies thin and bony, full of worms. Please offer any pregnant dog small-breed-puppy-food the final 1-2 weeks before delivery and while the pups are nursing. Give those mothers all the food they want: bowls full all day and lots of fresh water available all day. Cats need kitten food. Free feed the higher calorie food during the nursing stage to help mom make milk and maintain her own body mass. Babies need to be dewormed as young as 1-2 weeks, then every 7-10 days until age 10-weeks or older if in a confined environment with re-infestation concerns.
Offer strays water on day one and food day two or three. Call if missing a dog or you have a stray.
If you suspect an animal is being neglected or abused, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline, 314-647-4400 or 800-383-9835 or you can make a confidential report on line at Humane Society of Missouri.
To understand when an animal is being abused or neglected in the state of Missouri read the following link:http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/cruelty/mo_cruel.htm
We LOVE Buchheits! Donate a buck or more at the Jackson store for dog food and supplies when you shop. Also, Second Time Around in Marble Hill is taking donations for the Stray Project. Monetary donations are accepted at the Bollinger County Veterinary Service, Marble Hill Coop, Buchheits, and the MH Town and Country.
Thank you to the County Residents who have continued to support the Bollinger County Stray Project.
Check out our available pets at Petfinder. Call 573-722-3035 about our adoptable pets.