Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bullmastiff Recue Crisis

The American Bullmastiff Association Rescue Service's  (ABARS) mission is to find homes for unwanted Bullmastiffs that come from shelters or are owner surrenders from people whose lifestyle or financial situation has changed.   Occasionally ABARS will get Bullmastiffs that have been abandoned at a local veterinarian's office or from a good citizen that has found the dog and exhausted all means to locate the dog's owner. 

My Bullmastiff, Roxy, who passed away earlier this year was adopted from ABARS, ( Click here to read about Roxy ) ABARS typically handles about 70 rescues per year across the National network of Voulenteer Rescue Coordinators and Volunteer Foster Homes. The last few years though have been especially taxing for the organization. Economic conditions have caused an increase in owner surrenders and abandonment and the organization has been pushed to it's limit. The organization historically maintained an operating budget, amassed through donations that has been completely depleted by virtue of a near doubling of the number of dogs in the system. The organization was struggling but is now in serious crisis. 

An amateur breeder/hoarder in Nevada can no longer care for the 27 dogs on his property and ABARS has stepped in to get the dogs out.  Some of the dogs were living in kennels that were full of a month or more of excrement. Some were living in the garage, in kennels inside or loose. Some were in the house in rooms, and as you might imagine, the house is trashed.  Carpet has been ripped up, puppies were eating sheet rock in their room, the place smelled so bad that the rescue volunteers had to struggle not to vomit and refused to go inside. The owner bathed the ones that have been removed thus far, but they still all stink as the fecal bacteria is embedded in their skin & hair. 

On the weekend of December 10/11 the Western US Rescue Coordinator (Dawn Hamilton of Citadel Bullmastiffs in Phoenix) made two round trips to Las Vegas and pulled 15 dogs, and two  4 month old puppies. A complete assesment has not yet been completed but what is known is as follows:

The owner was feeding these large breed dogs every other day. Thus, several dogs are very thin, Titan, Teala, Prancer, Repo, Snort, Cowboy, Boy are all underweight. Some of the dogs may never achieve "normal" Bullmastiff size due to malnutrition as puppies.
None of the dogs have had vaccinations. Many have lived their entire lives on the same property and their immune systems are at minimal strength. Because of this many are contracting Parvo as a result of being exposed to the modified virus in the vaccine.
Crystal is overweight, probably has thyroid (hypo-thyroid), has entropian eyes, inter-digital cysts, seborrhea, horrible callouses, and lots of hair missing on her tail.   
Cowboy is deaf, needs entropian eyes fixed and thyroid checked (possible hyper-thyroid), not keeping weight on.  
Remy needs her eyes fixed, entropian, but other than being bred to death, isn’t too bad.   
Izzy the old 8 yr old is surprisingly in the best condition.  
Titan is thin, goes off his food, needs his eyes checked, might need surgery.  
Teala is thin but otherwise healthy.  
Prancer was neutered and had one entropian eye fixed, he lived outdoors in the kennel and has some scars, rough callouses from not having soft beds.  

Ava might have some teeth issues but otherwise isn’t in too bad shape.  

Cece had both eyes fixed for entropian, was spayed, has callouses, and just in general rough shape. 

Snort is underweight but overall wasn’t in bad shape, got neutered, currently under treatment for parvo.  

Repo was underweight, he was neutered but succumbed to parvo and died on December 17th.    
Violet and Saber were underweight and small for their age, they were the 3-4 ms old puppies. Both contracted parvo. Violet has died as well. Saber is under treatment, is improving but is still at great risk. 
My wife Kathy and I flew to Phoenix last weekend to begin looking at the dogs to determine which one (or two) we would adopt. Despite the horrific condition they are to the last very sweet dogs. They are highly adoptable.  Many are timid, and have never been on a leash on but they have sweet temperaments and should be very adoptable to the right homes especially if we can get them into foster homes. None are apparently aggressive and all stand an excellent shot of having good, long lives once they get past their health issues and this is where things are getting tough for ABARS. Housing the dogs is normally done in a "foster" format, but there are far more dogs than foster homes so the dogs are being housed in a commercial kennel and the fees are adding up very fast. Further, the medical bills are skyrocketing.

The kennel has graciously given a heavy discount to this cause but the costs are currently $90.00 per day.

As of this writing, the transportation & medical costs are in excess of $11,000 and rising rapidly.

If that isn't enough, there are still 5 dogs, and two or three 4 month old puppies still in Las Vegas. Dawn gave the owner a couple bags of food to ensure that at least their nutritional needs were met until they can be removed to a better facility. The owner is supposed to be putting one sick dog down, and another dog went to another rescue due to his history (mixed breed). The four month olds, and several adolescents have never been vaccinated and have never left the property and will likely have many of the same maladies and associated expenses as those already removed. 

ABARS is a 501c7 and has set up a Chip-In account on Paypal to accept donations to help offset the rapidly mounting expenses. Please help get these dogs out of their horrific situation, avail them of the medical care they need and get them into foster homes and on their way to new, loving homes where they can enjoy a life they've not yet had the chance to have. I know the economy is lousy and that you are probably deep into your Christmas / Holiday spending but these dogs desperately need your help and if they get it, they can go on to have excellent lives in their new homes.

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