Homes for the holiday?

Published 11:27 am Sunday, December 20, 2009

Community Editor

Only four of 131 dogs voluntarily surrendered Nov. 17 by an unidentified woman living near Edward remain at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility on U.S. Highway 264 east of Washington.
The woman told county officials that she surrendered the dogs because she couldn’t afford to take care of them any longer. Beaufort County animal-control officers first arrived at the woman’s property days before the dogs were taken. After the officers talked with her, the woman agreed to surrender the dogs. Later, with the help of Pitt County animal-control officers, the dogs were removed from the woman’s property, said Sandra Woolard, director of Beaufort County Animal Control.
Most of the dogs were initially held at the county animal shelter while officers worked in conjunction with InnerBanks Canine Rescue and the SPCA of Wake County to find adequate housing for them.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County took 21 dogs from the shelter to its no-kill shelter in Raleigh, while InnerBanks Canine Rescue took in 43 dogs. Another 31 dogs were euthanized at the shelter.
“The rescue groups have been wonderful. They make sure they get (the dogs) homes,” Woolard said.
Seven of the dogs taken by ICR have been adopted by loving families, while 26 were transferred to rescue shelters around the county, including Healing Hearts Small Animal Rescue, Minnesota Boxer Rescue, The American Bull Mastiff Association Rescue Program, Boston Terrier Rescue and Paws for Tomorrow, said ICR co-founder Mary McDonald.
Some of the dogs were flown by certified volunteer pilots with Pilots N’ Paws from Warren Field Airport in Washington to Healing Hearts in Asheville and Paws for Tomorrow in Delaware, McDonald said.
McDonald said she and her fellow volunteers have been working nonstop to find them homes since the dogs were surrendered.
“It’s definitely a learning experience,” she said.
The volunteers have tried to focus on the dogs as individuals, and not as a whole, McDonald said.
“We didn’t look at the number of dogs. We looked at the individual animals, and tried to do our best with each one,” she said.
“Some need a little more time before they can be adopted,” McDonald said, pointing out a particular dog.
One of the dogs surrendered was a 14-year-old Maltese with medical problems. ICR took the dog from the shelter and gave it to Healing Hearts, a rescue agency that specializes in small, senior and/or special-needs animals.
McDonald said ICR volunteers did their due diligence in finding suitable rescue shelters.
“We had reference checks done,” she said.
ICR has three pit-bull puppies and three Chihuahuas up for adoption.
The animal-control officers and rescue volunteers also got help from veterinarians with Pamlico Animal Hospital and Chocowinity Veterinary Hospital, who provided medical care to some of the dogs.
“Their donation of time, space, energy and services was enormous,” McDonald said.
With the help of so many volunteers, McDonald said, the future looks bright for the surrendered dogs.
“Their future’s wonderful. There’s somebody for all these dogs,” she said.