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Local shelter needs help caring for confiscated dogs

PUPPY CARE: The Pearl River County SPCA is now caring for 54 dogs that were seized as part of an arrest that entailed neglect by a resident running an online dog breeding business. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

PUPPY CARE: The Pearl River County SPCA is now caring for 54 dogs that were seized as part of an arrest that entailed neglect by a resident running an online dog breeding business.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

A population boom at the Pearl River County SPCA has staff scrambling to try to care for more than 50 dogs that were seized Friday due to neglect.
The arrest of 57-year-old Lynne Hackney on Friday led to the seizure of 54 dogs from her current place of residence at 2202 E. Canal St.
Most of the animals are show quality cattle dogs.
Hackney’s husband, 56-year-old Miles Allen, was also arrested. Both were charged with two counts each of simple animal cruelty when they were found to be living in less than ideal conditions that included sheds with no ventilation or air conditioning, according to previous coverage in the Item.
A hearing was held Sunday at the Picayune Municipal Court, which granted temporary ownership of the dogs to the PRCSPCA, said PRCSPCA vice president and shelter director Judy Wheaton. That temporary ownership will last 14 days, providing time for the next step in the legal process to take place.
In the meantime staff at the shelter are stretched thin in attempts to keep all of the dogs fed, watered and clean.
While Science Diet is providing food for the dogs, for the cost of shipping, one of the main needs at the shelter is extra volunteers to help care for the animals.
Community Outreach Coordinator Rhonda Furby said the animals are cared for three times a day, and the shelter’s shortage of volunteers makes the job overwhelming.
“There’s just not enough people to do this,” Furby said.
The shelter really needs three shifts of adults per day to help with the cleaning and feeding chores. Those shifts run at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.
Many of the dogs are dealing with fleas and worms, Furby said. Wheaton said eight of the dogs have tested positive for heartworms.
The need for medication is a financial burden on the shelter so monetary donations are welcome.
“We need money for medications, that’s the biggest issue,” Furby said.
In the short time they have been at the shelter, Furby has noticed that the dogs’ demeanor has improved. When they first arrived on Friday, many of the dogs were ready to attack, but now they appear happy and wag their tails on a regular basis.
Many of the dogs are now kept in pens two or three deep; many are kept in pens to prevent injuries since the breed is known to attack each other to the point of fatal injuries, Furby said.
When the dogs first arrived the shelter had no space for them, so they were all put in the exercise yard until the previous population could be doubled up in other pens.
Most of the animals confiscated are show dogs, some of which are grand champions, Furby said.
Wheaton said some of the dogs were being cared for by Hackney under contract, which included living condition requirements that were not being met. Many of those owners have indicated that they want their dogs back, but Wheaton said she has to wait until the court system makes a decision before she can proceed with a course of action.
In addition to the 50 cattle dogs, three Pomeranians and a mixed breed were confiscated.
All of the Pomeranians were living in the same cage. Furby said when law enforcement found the cage it appeared there were only two of the small dogs inside, but they found a third buried under the excrement.
That animal was taken to a vet for blood work and its fur shaved by a groomer to get rid of the matting that had occurred. Another Pomeranian in the cage was found to have suffered a broken leg that was never set, so it healed in a curled up position.
Those dogs are now in foster care, and one is now blind in one eye and being given seven kinds of medication due to the conditions it was living in, Wheaton said.
The cattle dogs were being bred for sale via a website, called Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs.
The website described prime conditions, but what law enforcement found was a far cry from the 20 acres and climate controlled doggy rooms described.
If people decide to purchase an animal from a website, Wheaton suggests a background check by calling the local SPCA or police department, who many times would be happy to pass by the address and take pictures to confirm the conditions described.
Anyone interested in providing donations and or volunteer duties can contact Furby at 985-630-9191 or by emailing prcspca@prcspca.org.