Guest blog by Carol Bryant
Forty-nine dogs now know what freedom is thanks to a group of volunteers who call themselves ‘oldies but goodies’ much like the dogs they take in every single day.
On an extremely hot summer day recently in rural Virginia, a caravan of vehicles from Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel (OBG) rescue group approached a barn. Upon opening the doors, their hearts sank, they were overcome by both heat and emotion, and over 40 faces feverishly panted, barked, and some simply were too weak, and/or sick to move.
Without revealing any upsetting images, the story of the Freedom 49 must be told.
These innocent and neglected dogs were rescued from a “rescue” organization. Crammed into kennels, sitting in waste, no water to be found, and in ragged condition, these dogs would not last much longer.
A Rescue Without a Heart
Over the past month or so, my social media newsfeed lit up with comments about a supposed 501(c)3 group, Heart to Heart Rescue. Concerned dog moms and dads shared buzz that apparently 80 or so dogs were living in a hot barn in Virginia without proper care, water, and food. The news circulated around two people in particular, but no one had hard core proof.
The President of Oldies but Goodies entered into negotiations with Heart to Heart Rescue officers and coordinated efforts with the county’s animal control officers and the Virginia Humane Society on Saturday, July 18. Arrangements were made to release the dogs on the Virginia property to OBG.
“When we arrived at the property, there were 49 dogs living in the hot barn, many coated with their own urine and feces and with empty water bowls. I know many people thought there were going to be more dogs at the property,” says Teresa Butler, president of Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue. “I do not know if there were more dogs there earlier in the month or if there were, what happened to those dogs. I can only speak to what we discovered when we arrived at the property.”
The Freedom 49 is the collective name given to these innocent souls. The Freedom 49 already has a better life today than they had in the weeks leading up to their rescue. They are no longer living in cages in a hot barn. They are getting exercise every day, clean water, regular meals and medical care. It is believed that expenses will exceed $50,000 for these dogs.
When asked about criminal charges to the people who did this to the dogs, Butler says, “That is up to the authorities, not OBG. At this point, I have to be careful how much information that I share. I can tell you some decisions were made based on what would be best for the dogs moving forward and I feel local authorities worked with us in the best possible way under the circumstances.”
OBG really needs foster homes and money to care for these dogs. The kennel fees are going to astronomical. At this point in time, they have no idea what other medical care will be needed for these dogs but will be receiving daily updates.
Not All Rescues Are Created Equal
Always perform due diligence when getting involved with any sort of rescue group. Though a 501(c)3 status is a good start, it is not a gold seal of approval. Some things to consider before getting involved with any sort of pet rescue group. In fact, some “rescues” are glorified puppy mills:
- Get detailed information about the group, including name, address, and contact number.
- If you donate, get a receipt and keep records.
- Search online and ask around about the group. Find out if all of the donations are used for the animals.
- Never give cash: A credit card or PayPal account is trackable.
- Do not believe everything you see online: Investigate and ask questions.
- Ask for references, others who have adopted the dogs.
- Its always best to see any facility in person.
- Do not let bad apples spoil the whole bunch: There are many amazing animal rescue groups in existence.
- Report any suspicion of fraudulent activity to the Attorney General’s office, local police department, Better Business Bureau, and/or Federal Trade Commission.
How to Help
- If you are interested in FOSTERING, please email email@example.com.
- If you are interested in DONATING, please click here for the Freedom 46 page.
Become a Wigglebutt Warrior
Wigglebutt Warriors® is the fundraising arm of the Fidose of Reality popular dog blog, and crusades to save dogs. Combined, we’ve raised over $50,000 for homeless Cocker Spaniels to assist with medical, food, and basic needs until they find their forever homes. We can attest to the credibility and labor of love of OBG. Click here to learn more about becoming a Wigglebutt Warrior so that more homeless dogs can be helped. Carol Bryant is the PR and marketing manager for BlogPaws.