The response to the dog hoarding/puppy mill case this week in Allegan County has been overwhelming, bringing hundreds of volunteers, supplies and monetary donations.
The foundation, created by animal advocate and BISSELL Inc. director of corporate affairs Cathy Bissell, on Wednesday afternoon delivered a $10,000 donation check to help pay for the medical treatment of the Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and other small breed dogs. A BISSELL representative presented the donation to Susan Smith, president of the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance, which runs the Allegan Shelter.
“We obviously saw it unfolding in the media, and our Amanda Parrish (a BISSELL Inc. employee) volunteered down there, so we made some connections with them,” said Veronica Dainelis, administrative assistant in the executive office at BISSELL Inc. “Cathy wanted to immediately respond.
“Three hundred and fifty dogs is a huge financial responsibility, and we felt the best way we could help was through a monetary donation. They need food and other in-kind donations that are easier for the public to purchase, but most people can’t fund heartworm tests, vaccines, dental work and the routine care these dogs are going to need. We thought it best to send monetary support so they could get the medical care they need.”
Dainelis was told it’s doubtful many of the dogs rescued have ever seen a veterinarian.
“They have a lot of issues typical of small breed dogs who don’t get veterinary care, including poor dental health, abscess teeth and skin conditions because of a lack of grooming,” Dainelis said. “Those all cost a significant amount of money, so we wanted to do what we could to help provide them care.”
The BISSELL Pet Foundation, which was founded in late 2011, had come to the aid of an animal cruelty case in Kentucky, where 96 dogs were saved by Animal Rescue Corps. In that case, BPF gave a $7,500 grant to help pay for medical expenses from the “Operation Sweethearts” placement partners.
When it came time to help out a shelter in the Grand Rapids-based company’s own back yard, there was no hesitation.
“Cathy immediately wanted to get money to them,” Dainelis said. “She recognized the urgency and need of these animals and wanted to support this effort in a big. way.”