Thursday, July 30, 2009
I didn't expect that with each passing day I would receive an email from another person who has been in my shoes.
We will not let P.E.T.S. continue down their path of abuse...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
We recently took a trip all the way up to Tracy, CA, about 5 hours from our home, to meet a puppy we saw on Petfinder.com. We planned to bring him home that day based on the information we received from P.E.T.S., but when we arrived at the park where to meet the puppy I was disgusted with what I saw. There were 3 dogs in a pen, the one I was inquiring about, his sibling and another dog. One dog had kennel cough. The two puppy siblings were so emaciated their ribs were hanging out. One dog was limping. Later I saw that the bottom of one of his back pads was very read. They were walking in feces, had feces on them. When I asked why the puppy I was meeting was so thin, the P.E.T.S. volunteer said he was so thin because he had roundworms so bad that they bloated his belly, so when he was dewormed it made him look thin. I asked about shots and if the vet was caring for the worms, etc. and she said he hadn't been seen by a vet other than the shelter vet where they "rescued" him. She also said they didn't want to over feed them (even though they are clearly malnourished) because that would teach them a bad habit. They wanted $250, but did not provide shots, spay/neuter or anything for that matter. They aren't even providing vet care. I so badly wanted to take these animals out of there care but there was nothing I could do and I had two children with me which made the situation very difficult. These dogs were clearly sick and I am so scared that they are being mistreated, neglected and used purely for profit. I was under the impression that rescue organizations rescued dogs from shelters and got them in ready condition for adoptive homes which would mean healthy. That is clearly not was is going on in this case.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I can't divulge any real details yet, but I have been contacted and found information about others with similar experiences to mine.
If I get permission, I will be sharing their stories with you as well so that you can really see the damage that has been done.
I feel stronger and stronger every day.
Monday, July 27, 2009
After a few years of consideration, in Fall of 2008 I decided that I was ready to get a dog. I had been looking for months, but up to that point had not gone to meet any dogs. And then as I searched petfinder.org one day, I saw Sancho. On November 12, 2008, I contacted the animal rescue group People Ending the Slaughter of Animal (P.E.T.S.) by email, regarding an adoption application for Sancho. On November 13, 2008, I was notified by email that my application had been accepted. An appointment to meet Sancho was set up for Saturday, November 15, 2008, at 12 noon on the grassy area across from Old Navy at 2320 Daniels Street in Manteca, Ca. I was told to look for a Silver Montero and call the phone number provided if I could not locate it.
On November 15, 2008, I arrived at the agreed upon location and was handed a black mixed breed puppy named Sancho. The dog immediately peed on me. My first instinct was that something traumatic happened to this dog to make him so scared of strangers. I held him for approximately 30 minutes before he calmed down and began to relax. I was told if I would like to play with him I could take him to the large grassy area behind me, on the far side of the rocks. At the time, I was unaware, but quickly became aware that Sancho, and likely the other dogs that were being viewed that day, should not have been allowed to play in that grassy area as they were not vaccinated enough and it was a health risk for them to do so. I tried to play with Sancho in the grass, but he was very anxious, lethargic, and didn’t play much.
I was apprehensive about adopting Sancho, but I knew I couldn’t give him back to the volunteers that were there that day. I decided to adopt Sancho. I signed the contract they provided and paid them $250.00 cash. I asked to write a check, but was told they were not accepted. I received a hand written record of what they claimed to be the vaccinations he had received. He was not neutered. As I left, I was very sad. Not only was I confused by the fact that neither of the volunteers ever introduced themselves to me, neither one said goodbye to me or Sancho after I paid. They also did not ask anything about how I would be getting him home, would he be running free around the car or safe in a carrier? It seemed more like I was buying a rock than adopting a rescue puppy.
It was apparent to me when I got him home that he was not well. I suspected kennel cough within the first 10 minutes of having him in the car, he appeared to have a skin problem as he had quite a bit of dandruff, his stomach was distended and tender, he cried when he needed to pass urine or stool and all of his bowel movements were watery diarrhea with bright red blood in it. The first 2 days I had him he passed urine or stool every 45 minutes to an hour and suffered extreme anxiety when left alone. I spent the first week sleeping on the floor with him because he was so terrified and sick I needed to be ready to wake up at a moment’s notice. I can’t even recall the number of times I cried that weekend because I was so scared that I was going to walk into the vet on Monday morning and they were going to tell me that he couldn’t be saved.
On Monday, November 17, 2008 I took Sancho to the Banfield Pet Hospital located in Petsmart at 2375 Iron Point Road Folsom, CA 95630. As I waited for test results the doctor tried to reassure me that he would be fine, saying that things as serious as giardia and coccidia were unlikely and he was probably just stressed and getting use to the new food. Sancho was diagnosed with giardia and coccidia and treated with an antibiotic for each. Although I am not a vet, I believe he was malnourished as he gained weight very quick rate. The veterinarian gave him a low dose antibiotic for kennel cough to hopefully prevent it from getting worse. At that time, she couldn’t be sure if the coccidia and giardia were causing the dandruff, so we agreed to wait until the coccidia and giardia were gone to proceed with treatment for the dandruff. He was also placed on prescription strength dog food due to the intestinal sensitivity. Sancho was later diagnosed with ear mites and a yeast infection which were treated with prescription ear drops. He also had worms. When Sancho was finally healthy enough, I had him neutered. At his one week check up after the neuter, the vet discovered he had demodectic mange. There was never a point where Sancho had “normal” bowel movements. They were always very soft and most often diarrhea.
Initially following the adoption I contacted P.E.T.S. to inform them of the experience I had as well as Sancho’s poor health. P.E.T.S. responded to me on Mon 11/17/2008 6:38 PM and I was told,
“…the bottom line is that we cannot monitor the foster homes 24/7, we will however have her other 2 puppies tested and most likely not have her foster any longer. We depend on the foster families to let us know when an animal needs to go to the vet or if they have any other needs. Are we perfect, no, but I can say that we get far more e-mails from people that are very positive than negative. As for the neuter, we rebate that once we receive a certificate. “
Against my own good judgment, I did not report the state that Sancho was in when he was adopted to animal services. On February 3, 2009, Sancho was neutered. I contacted P.E.T.S. on February 4, 2009, and was told by email February 5, 2009:
“In order to receive a rebate, you need to provide a certificate of neuter. You can scan and e-mail it. Once received it will be given to the bookkeeper to process your rebate.”
On February 6, 2009, the certificate of neuter was scanned and emailed along with full name and address to send the rebate to. When I received no response I sent an email on Fri 2/13/2009 at 8:45 AM requesting confirmation that the certificate had been received and the rebate was in process. Later that day, I was told by email:
“It has been forwarded to the bookkeeper, she volunteers part time and normally does most of her work on the weekends.”
On February 27, 2009, I again requested confirmation. Later that day I received an email from P.E.T.S. saying:
“Sending this e-mail to her along with a note for her to contact you. Please keep me in the loop.”
March 10, 2009 I again emailed for some sort of status on my rebate. At this point I was quite frustrated. I had spent quite a bit of money on health care for Sancho and could have really used the rebate to help pay for that. Wednesday April 1, 2009 I emailed, again asking for information about my rebate. Later that day, I received another email from Amanda that she would look into it. April 13, 2009 I still had no response to the whereabouts of the rebate and once again contacted P.E.T.S. June 1, 2009, I again contacted the organization requesting my rebate.
On June 11, 2009 I emailed and informed the organization that at that point I would no longer be contacting them, but would be contacting a lawyer. I also decided, but did not tell them I would be reporting them to any and all organization I could find that took reports on a matter of this kind. I am very concerned about the practices of this organization and their treatment of animals. As far as the money is concerned, I think that their bookkeeping records should be audited to establish where this money is going and if there are other people who were never sent their rebate.
As I realized how difficult it was going to be to have them investigated I started to do more research. I have not been able to find 501(c)(3) status or a business license for P.E.T.S., so it’s likely that they are not being held responsible for taxes and reporting by any agency. Where the bigger problem comes in is that the organization claims to be based in Hayward. However, they foster and adopt out animals in cities in several different counties. Finding someone who will really hear what I’m saying and help steer me in the right direction has proved difficult. As a result, I thought the only way I could feel good about my effort was if I found contacts for everyone I could imagine that is associated with P.E.T.S. or I thought could help me out.
This organization needs to be held responsible for their actions. They also need to be accountable to someone. Without any sort of monitoring or reporting going on, this organization could be engaging in any number of practices that are inappropriate, against public policy or illegal. They should not be able to run an organization like this and put animals and people through such pain. I will not stop until I have exhausted all my resources. I realize that swooping in and removing all these animals may not be possible, but holding these parties responsible and requiring them to bring their organization up to the basic standards required is possible.
Every now and then in life, someone or something comes into our life and turns it upside down. Sancho did that for me. He absolutely changed me. I can no longer sit by and just wonder if there are more dogs out there suffering like Sancho was. I also can’t imagine letting someone else end up in a situation like Sancho and I did. I was really lucky that I had the financial ability and family support to take care of Sancho’s needs. Many people would not be able to afford it and he likely would not have made it. These people are supposed to be rescuing animals, not allowing them to suffer.