Dealing with the aftermath of the animal neglect nightmare on East Benham Lane

By Catherine Powers, Director, Curry County Animal Shelter January 19, 2011 04:00 am

The nightmare on East Benham Lane is over. The aftermath is, we have 14 adult dogs and six puppies that are in need of medical attention, along with close to 20 cats at South Coast Humane Society  also in need.

The living conditions that the humans and animals were subjected to were unacceptable, in my opinion. Nothing had been done about the condition of the dogs and cats – some needed immediate medical attention. We see it all the time on TV, and now, we as a community get to see it up close and personal.

If you have not done so already, please stop by the shelter and visit these animals. They’re in need of human kindness, love – and most of all – respect. Only one of the dogs, Munchie, knows how to play, as he was the “guard” dog out front behind the fence, the one who barked and scared everyone away. He really is a kind, gentle soul that will show you around the shelter for a snack. He was in the van when we arrived, and I went right in, and for a juicy piece of sausage he was more than willing to go. (Very smart of him.)

The dogs are settling in better each day. They were all given their shots, wormed, flea treated, ears cleaned and medicated, and toenails trimmed. They received their rabies shot at the shelter Monday, given by volunteer Dr. Jan Hammer. Pennies for Pooches pays for all the medicine in the shelter’s medicine chest. None of these dogs are spayed or neutered, and several of them have serious skin conditions.

Pennies for Pooches also pays for all the Science Diet dog food. Yes, Science Diet gives us a shelter price, but it is still another cost that Pennies pays out of their little fund. The amount of food we received over the weekend was awesome, as we were not able to bump up our order until this week, and we were running low. Several bags of special food for sensitive skin came in as well as regular dog food. Puppy chow rolled in, followed by bags and bags of chew bones and milk bones.

Collars were next. Woof’s gave a screaming rate for people, and here they came. Elizabeth and Pete De Russo stopped in to see what we needed. Their shopping list was long, as they were headed to the valley. They saw the need for Kuranda beds and immediately ordered five.

 I got home last Wednesday night, laid my head down and cried. I cried for the dogs, as they do not know what just happened or what it is to be a real dog, how to play and fetch a ball, or what it’s like to go on a walk. I cried thankful tears for a county that has very kind, caring people in it; I cried because what I experienced that Wednesday afternoon was something I never want to see again. Thank you Deputy Kim Wood for that phone call, and thank you Curry County Sheriff's Office for immediately responding to help these desperate animals.

Before I leave the shelter at night, I always tell the dogs goodnight and tell them I love them. When I went home Thursday, I entered the kennels and looked at these dogs and my heart filled with joy. For the first time in their lives, they were on real beds with clean blankets – blankets not filled with urine and feces. They had eaten a swell meal to fill their stomachs, and no dogs were barking. Thirty-eight dogs – and it was very quiet. All their needs were met. It was then I said those three important words, “I love you.” I meant it from my heart, and from the bottom of my soul. The compassion they brought out in me was unbelievable.

When I eat lunch in the office and it’s filled with dogs, I tell them it’s bad manners to beg. (They all stare at me, and of course I let them help me stay slim by giving them half.)

Now, I’m going to demonstrate some bad manners myself and beg like a dog – on behalf of the dogs. I know these are tough times, and it’s hard to spare any money, but Pennies for Pooches is in need of your help.

Once Curry County Animal Shelter gets custody of these precious souls (only six have been surrendered so far) we will begin the vet trips. These will include spaying and neutering, skin scraping, and treating ear-mites, yeast infections in the ears, and eye infections. These all need to be addressed, and to address them we need money. Please, I am begging.

God bless everyone who has responded to our pleas already, and God bless all those of you who will also respond. All creatures great and small, God created them all.

Donations may be made to Pennies for Pooches (a 501c3) P.O. Box 1883, Gold Beach, OR 97444.

You can see the dogs on Curry County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page, and they soon will be posted on petfinder. The shelter may be contacted at 541 247-2514.

Take a deep breath, as Undersheriff Rector tells me, and by taking one day at a time, we as a community will deal with this horrific case of animal neglect.

Thanks to everyone, and to the Pilot for their time and space in the paper.