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Tag: arkansas

Fatcat finally catches some breaks

fatcat

For eight years, Fatcat led a life that was the opposite of her name — in many ways.

For starters, she wasn’t a cat.

And, as bulldogs go, she wasn’t too awfully fat.

And, from all appearances, she definitely did not enjoy the kind of  lifestyle the term Fatcat name might connote — she wasn’t idly resting in the lap of luxury. Far from it.

Instead, in the eight years after she was stolen as a puppy from the backyard of a home in Memphis, it’s believed she was used to produce puppies, by a less than ethical breeder who dumped her once she got too old.

fatcatasapupThe English bulldog was stolen in 2006 from the yard of LaShena Harris. She searched high and low for the dog, and though Fatcat had been microchipped, she was never found.

Until two weeks ago, when she was picked up as a stray and dropped off at a shelter in Arkansas.

There — at  the West Memphis Animal Shelter — she was scanned for a microchip, and Harris was tracked down, even though she’d long since moved to the Phoenix area.

Along with the good news, Harris received some bad news. Fatcat was in sad shape due to the years she spent as a baby-making machine —  and getting her to Phoenix was going to be a problem.

Fatcat was too big to ride in the cabin of a plane, and between her health problems and her breed — it’s risky to transport short-snouted dogs in a plane’s cargo hold — flying her home wasn’t going to work. Harris, a working single mother, wasn’t sure she could take time off to make the drive.

“I went from the highest high to the lowest low,” she said. Putting Fatcat down was discussed, but before consenting Harris asked the shelter for an extra 24 hours to make the decision.

When she called back the next day to authorize the shelter to euthanize Fatcat, the director of the shelter stopped her short, and offered a suggestion.

A friend of the shelter director who worked with a local rescue group was moving to Scottsdale, and offered to drive Fatcat there.

Harris and Fatcat were reunited last Thursday in a motel parking lot, and between media coverage of the reunion and a GoFundMe.com campaign, donations have poured in — about $6,500 so far — to help pay for Fatcat’s mounting medical bills.

“I am overwhelmed. It is just amazing. People don’t even know me and they are helping me out,” Harris, 34, of Glendale, said. “I’ve even gotten e-mails from the (United Kingdom). … I just don’t know what to say.”

On Monday, Fatcat was checked out by a local veterinarian who found she has heartworms, dental problems and masses around her vulva and anus that need to be removed, according to AzCentral.com

Harris launched the GoFundMe page with a $5,000 goal, and says she plans to donate any surplus to the shelter in Arkansas.

“How do you show gratitude to someone you’ve never met?” Harris wrote on her page. “Even if I don’t have Fatcat home for as long (in terms of her entire lifespan), I feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. I’m just glad she’s finally home.”

(Top photo: Patrick Breen / The Arizona Republic; bottom photo, Fatcat as a puppy, from LaShena Harris’ GoFundMe page)

The largest crackdown on dogfighting — ever

The most ambitious crackdown on dogfighting in American history has now led to the seizure of more than 450 dogs, with raids and arrests in eight states.

Following an investigation initiated by the The Humane Society of Missouri, officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in what was ”the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

“This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. 

Pacelle reported on his blog: “Four United States Attorneys and a bevy of federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA, raided multiple dogfighting operations, and seized at least 450 dogs, in what was the largest single day of actions against dogfighting in American history.”

The Humane Society of Missouri is sheltering more than 300 dogs —  mostly pit bulls — seized in the Missouri and Illinois raids. The dogs will be housed, cared for and evaluated at an  emergency shelter in St. Louis.

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Nearly 400 dogs seized in Arkansas raid

Nearly 400 neglected dogs were rescued Monday from an Arkansas puppy mill in a raid by local authorities and the Humane Society of the United States.

Dogs were found living in horrific conditions in dilapidated structures throughout the 82-acre property, authorities said, and at least 350 were removed. Also seized were 17 miniature ponies, six cats and several exotic birds and turtles from the property.  

When rescuers arrived at the property, in Logan County, they found dogs, ranging from shih tzus and poodles to Akitas and Shelties — some only a day-old –suffering from serious medical ailments and housed in filthy conditions.

“Most people don’t realize that this is the cruel reality behind those cute puppies for sale in pet stores and online,” said Desiree Bender, Arkansas state director for The HSUS. “These dogs were kept in tiny cages and forced to breed continuously for the profit of the mill owners.” 

“People were buying the puppies without knowing the cruelty they were supporting, Bender said. “It is vital that anyone buying a puppy go and see where they were born, meet the parent dogs and ensure they are being well cared for.”

All of the animals were swiftly removed and transported to a nearby emergency shelter and checked by a team of veterinarians, the HSUS reported.

Volunteers from United Animal Nations assisted with the temporary shelter, and supplies were provided by PetSmart Charities, which sent its Emergency Relief Waggin’ full of wire crates, dog food and bedding.

Schmuck of the week

Our “schmuck of the week” award — and there are so many out there we’re thinking of making this a regular feature — goes to an Arkansas mayor who ordered a city employee to “dump two loads of dogs” in the St. Francis National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has ordered Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley to pay $1,900 in fines and restitution.

A forest service spokeswoman says dumping the dogs, who were alive, violated a federal prohibition against abandoning “property” in national forests.

Under the agreement, Valley will pay $300 in fines and $1,600 to Northeast Arkansans for Animals to compensate the group for its work in locating and rescuing the dogs, Fox News reported. Valley did not immediately return the news organization’s call for comment.

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