Rescued Jack Russells arrive in West Michigan, prep for adoption

Crates of Jack Russells arrive via the ASPCA truck at Kent County Animal Shelter on Wednesday.

Crates of Jack Russells arrive via the ASPCA truck at Kent County Animal Shelter on Wednesday.


The Jack Russell terriers rescued from a suspected puppy mill operation in Lake City arrived at the Kent County Animal Shelter and Humane Society of West Michigan this afternoon.

The ASPCA’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Disaster Response truck pulled into KCAS around 1:30 p.m. and unloaded 15 Jack Russells. Six additional dogs, also JRTs, were then transported to HSWM. No Shiba Inus, also rescued from the puppy mill, were brought to West Michigan.

Dr. Laurie Wright, staff veterinarian at KCAS, said the dogs are in good shape, given what they’re going through. Some dogs had vomit and diarrhea in their travel crates and were given baths upon arrival.

“Most of the dogs are a little bit stressed because they’ve had a long car ride, but they’re really in pretty good physical condition,”  Wright said. “One I just processed had some evidence of flea dirt,  but no fleas. The ASPCA had already pretreated everybody, and  they’re all vaccinated heartworm tested, microchipped, fecal tested and dewormed, so we’re basically just getting them to the point where we can get them settled comfortably.

“They’ll get reassessed probably in the next 24 to 48 hours and we’ll see how they’re settling in. The bandanas you see us putting on them are sprayed with a pheromone to help calm them down. The bandanas aren’t just for cuteness, but also for de-stressing.”

Carly Luttmann, adoption program supervisor at KCAS, said the Jack Russells could be ready to be adopted as early as tomorrow.

“I think we need to do more behavior assessments on everybody tomorrow morning just to see how they’re going to fit in our adoption program, but I anticipate we’ll be ready to have them available,” Luttmann said.

The KCAS dogs all have familiar temporary names to anyone who follows the Detroit Tigers. They’re named after Tigers players and manager Jim Leyland.

“Our marketing and media manager, Lisa LaPlante, came up with Tigers’ players names,” Luttmann said. “It’s always a challenge to name a big group of dogs that comes in at once.”

Because there was just one male dog in the group of 15 at KCAS, Luttmann’s staff had to come up with solutions for the females.

“(The Tigers) have masculine names, so we had a to change a few things,” she said. “For instance, we changed Victor Martinez to Victoria M. We had to get a little creative.”

The dogs at HSWM will undergo behavioral testing before going up for adoption. Nicole Cook, marketing director at HSWM, said the dogs appear to have better temperaments than her staff expected, but they definitely are a bit fearful.

In addition, one HSWM dog is heartworm positive and another has a heart murmur. Cook said a grant from ASPCA will be used for medical treatment on those dogs, and said they should be fine with treatment. There’s no timetable for the adoption availability of the dogs in HSWM’s care.






Five more puppy mill dogs headed to West Michigan

I received word today that in addition to the 20 dogs slated to arrive at Kent County Animal Shelter,  five other dogs from the suspected puppy mill bust in Lake City, Mich., will be headed to the Humane Society of West Michigan.

Five dogs rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Lake City will arrive at Humane Society of West Michigan today, where they'll work with behavior specialists until they're ready for adoption. (Roscommon County Animal Shelter photo)

Five dogs rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Lake City will arrive at Humane Society of West Michigan today, where they’ll work with behavior specialists until they’re ready for adoption. (Roscommon County Animal Shelter photo)

A press release from HSWM said the five dogs are the last remaining from the more than 150 dogs seized and are the toughest to place, according to the ASPCA, because of their behavior challenges. The ASPCA worked in conjunction with law enforcement officials to find temporary shelter for the Jack Russell terriers and Shiba Inus rescued from the suspected puppy mill.

The HSWM release said the five dogs headed their way today are fearful and unsocialized and some suffer from medical issues, including heartworm and a heart murmur.

“We have a fantastic behavior specialist and veterinarian on staff who are ready and skilled to help in dire circumstances like this,” Trudy Ender, HSWM Executive Director, said in the release.  “We are pleased to be able to help these dogs and give them the care and attention they deserve.”

When the dogs arrive at HSWM, they will immediately get medical care and begin working with the behavior staff to acclimate them. The dogs will be evaluated upon arrival and will be placed up for adoption when they are ready for their new “forever” home, HSWM said.

Available Allegan County dogs, and several others, find new homes via HSWM ‘Spring Fling’

Although the goal of having 70 animals adopted wasn’t reached, Saturday’s Meijer Spring Fling at the Humane Society of West Michigan certainly was a success.

Anthony Daniels, 6, of Kalamazoo had his face painted while he and his family waited to adopt a dog from HSWM on Saturday. (Photos/Mary Ullmer)

A crowd lined up as early as 7 a.m. for the 10 a.m. event, and hundreds had gathered by the time HSWM opened its doors. In all, 32 animals, including a couple of cats and a bunny,  were adopted on Saturday.

All 14 of the Shih Tzu-mix dogs transferred from the Allegan County Animal Shelter, rescued a couple of weeks ago from a puppy mill, that were available for adoption at HSWM found homes.

“People love to get dogs with a story, so there was an overwhelming response to the Allegan County dogs,” said Nicole Cook, marketing and events coordinator at HSWM. “People were lined up at 7 a.m. We tried to tell people that if they’re here for an Allegan  County dog, they should look at all the others here, too.

“All dogs have a story, some just didn’t make the news. We had dogs that were starved that came in, so that’s a form of cruelty. We had a family that had a devastating loss that couldn’t keep their dog. Every dog is unique and has a story, it just might not be a newsworthy story.”

It appeared that Credence, a black-and-tan coonhound, had found a home on Saturday. But the “meet-and-greet” session with the family’s other dogs that is required for adopting an animal from HSWM didn’t go well, Cook said.

Charlene Lovewell of Wyoming adopted one of the small-breed dogs transferred to HSWM from the Allegan County puppy mill. Lovewell said the dog's name will be Molly.

“We do have three families coming in on Tuesday to see him,” Cook said. “That’s why we love to have the education process to explain our mission. Yes, it’s to adopt out animals, but we want to get them in the right home. That’s why it’s important to have the behavior staff on our team to inform people. We had several people bring their dogs for meet and greet, and we made that clear ahead of time. We probably had 20 dog meetings happen on Saturday.

“The great thing is, a couple of our senior dogs found homes. They often get overlooked.”

Because the application process can be time-consuming, HSWM offered demonstrations and seminars at the event, which ran until 4 p.m. A hot dog stand parked out front surely did brisk business as people waited hours for their application to be processed before meeting their potential pet along with adoption counselors.

Milani (left) and Arabia Taylor meet with their new dog, Austin, who came from the Allegan County puppy mill raid.

“We were really diligent before we opened our doors that we have a process for adoption and we want to make sure the dogs, cats or bunnies find the perfect home,” Cook said. “We don’t want to see these animals come back to us.

“If you’re not willing to wait 45 minutes to an hour to get a consult, which is part of the process, then maybe you’re not ready for a pet. We encourage people that the animal is worth the wait because we have to make sure it’s a good fit.”

Charlene Lovewell of Wyoming was able to adopt one of the dogs from Allegan County. She had applied the previous week for the adoption and had been pre-approved to adopt Allison, whom she renamed, Molly.

“She’s doing great, you wouldn’t she know came from anywhere else,.” Lovewell said Monday. “We did a little training already. She goes to the door to go out, goes to the bathroom and comes back in. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house. She even has found an old blanket that she likes to cuddle up in to sleep.”

Lovewell has a 3-year-old Shih Tzu-Maltese mix, Maggie, to keep Molly company.

“Maggie tries to play with Molly but she doesn’t really understand it,” Lovewell said. “They do wander around together in our fenced in yard, though. Molly’s doing very well and seems happy and we’re just tickled that it worked out so well.”



Allegan Co. dogs among those available for adoption at Humane Society WM’s ‘Spring Fling’

The Humane Society of West Michigan is hosting a “Meijer Spring Fling” adoption and family fun event Saturday, and some of the small-breed dogs rescued from a recent Allegan County puppy mill raid will be among several animals up for adoption.

Layla is a 1-year-old retriever mix available for adoption at the Humane Society of West Michigan. She is a sweet dog who loves to be around people and who enjoys going on long walks. She would do best in a home with elementary-school age kids (or older). She had puppies but they have all been adopted -- now it is her turn to find a loving, forever home! (HSWM photo)

The open house is free to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at HSWM (3077 Wilson NW). In addition to the pet adoption drive, the event will feature seminars on dog bite prevention and obedience as well as demonstrations with Frisbee dogs and an appearance by Toula, an adopted dog from Plainwell who has appeared in movies and commercials.  Kids’ activities, like a balloon animal artist, face painting and crafts, also will be available.

Nicole Cook, marketing and events coordinator at HSWM, said at least five of the dogs rescued from Allegan County, and possibly more, will be eligible for adoption at Saturday’s event. The number of Shih Tzu mixes available on Saturday will depend on their progress in the evaluation process, Cook said.

HSWM took in 20 of the 350-plus dogs rescued by the Allegan County Animal Shelter. Many of the dogs required medical attention, vaccination and socialization, a process for which there is no set timetable.

“We’re figuring at least five will be ready, and we have the potential for a few more, but it will depend on how things go the next couple of days,” Cook said. “We’re excited because there will be a lot going on here Saturday and we hope a lot of people will be here not only to adopt the Shih Tzus, but the other dogs and cats we have who are waiting for new homes.”

Cook said the goal is to have 75 animals adopted at the event. She added that HSWM has held similar events in the past.

“But we really want a family focused festival,” she said. “We want to get more animals in homes, but we also want to educate. If people aren’t looking for a dog or cat, they can still come and enjoy the activities and learn from the different seminars we’re offering.”

Steve Mozer, owner of Ears and Tail K9 Solutions for Working Dogs, and his standard poodles, Suki and Syler, will be giving a Frisbee dog demonstration.

Also on hand for a demonstration will be Toula, a border collie adopted by Christine Mahaney who won PETCO’s “America’s Most Talented Pet”national contest in 2007 and appeared in the movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp. Toula also appeared on “Live! with Regis and Kelly” during Top Dog Week in 2009 and currently has a spot alongside another of Mahaney’s dogs, Cole, in a Chevy Volt commercial, “Morning in Hamtramck.”

There will be two bite prevention seminars given by HSWM  education assistant Carlita Gonzalez.

“She’ll show examples of what you should and shouldn’t do it a dog approaches and other basic tips,” Cook said. “People are out and about with the warmer weather, and that means there are more dogs out and about, too.”

The schedule of events for Saturday:

  • 11 a.m.: Dog Bite Prevention Seminar by Carlita Gonzalez (HSWM Education Assistant)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Demonstration by Toula (celebrity dog from movies and TV)
  • 1 p.m.: Frisbee demonstration with Steve Mozer and his dogs Suki and Syler
  • 2 p.m.: Dog Bite Prevention Seminar by Carlita Gonzalez (HSWM Education Assistant)
  • 3 p.m.: Dog Obedience Seminar by Namiko Ota-Noveskey (HSWM Behavior Specialist)

For more information on the Spring Fling, including important details on how the adoption process works, click here. 

Details on adoption process released for seized puppy mill dogs in Allegan County

The Allegan Shelter Facebook page posted a message Friday afternoon with a link to a list  of additional shelters that have taken in dogs from a puppy mill/hoarding situation this week.

One of the small mixed breed dogs from the Allegan County seizure this week who soon will be available for adoption. (Allegan Shelter photo)

The link takes readers to an Allegan County Animal Shelter home page, which now is different from the shelter’s Petfinder page. Those seeking information on adopting one of the small breed dogs, or any other dog, from the Allegan shelter can fill out an online application and learn more about the process from the home page.

Allegan County’s page also refers potential adopters to the many shelters and rescue groups that took in dogs because of the limited capacity at Allegan. It also provides links to those groups. Nearly 320 dogs of mixed breeds, Shih Tzus mixed with Pomeranian, Papillon, Maltese and Yorkies, were transported to other temporary facilities.

The folks at Allegan County also cautioned people to be patient with the process:

Due to the limited capacity of the Allegan Animal Shelter, we have moved approximately 320 Shih Tzus to other shelters and private rescue groups both locally and through out Michigan. The following is a partial list of those organizations. At this time, you must contact them directly for information about adopting a Shih Tzu that was taken from our shelter. Please be patient. It is very likely that the majority of these organizations will impose a 10-day quarantine before adopting out these dogs to insure their health.

I’d love to hear from any Press Unleashed readers who happen to bring one of these dogs into a loving forever home. Feel free to check out my contact information and e-mail me.

BISSELL Pet Foundation responds to Allegan dogs’ needs with $10,000 donation

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.

Count the BISSELL Pet Foundation among the emergency responders to come to the aid of the 352 seized dogs currently being cared for by the Allegan County Animal Shelter.

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.”