On Saturday, a new 10x16 home for eleven dogs in Wyeth County, Va., known to the public as the "dogs in a box," was erected thanks to volunteers and the Guardians of Rescue, a New York nonprofit animal rescue organization.
The ongoing rescue attempts of the dogs, located at a distressed property on Walton Furnace Road, Max Meadows, in what has been referred to by humane advocates as a "dungeon", became national news in February as temperatures plummeted to -5 degrees and animal advocates continued to complain about the ongoing egregious conditions the dogs allegedly had to endure.
Emotions continued to rise as a Facebook page Help Save the Dogs Left in a Box garnered more than 10,000 "likes."
Despite continuous complaints and protests to the local authorities and Animal Control, authorities determined the dogs to be in good condition.
When the Guardians of Rescue stepped in to survey the situation, the organization's president and founder, Robert Misseri, sent an investigator out to view the property and look into past complaints of the dogs' owner Mike Thomas.
"While Mr. Thomas is not the most ideal pet owner, he is not intentionally neglecting the animals. Instead, he lacks the resources to provide them with more. If this was intentional neglect, we would have taken another approach," stated Misseri.
"The ideal situation would be for Mr. Thomas to surrender the dogs and find loving homes but that’s not a reality,” stated Dori Scofield, vice president of Guardians of Rescue. “We are realists and our focus is on providing him with the proper education and resources to make sure the dogs live a healthy life.”
And that is just what happened. Thomas told the organization he truly loved his dogs, and would not consider surrendering them. Even though Thomas lives in a trailer with no electricity or running water, every week he travels into town to buy dog food and water for the dogs - placing his dogs' needs before his own. The dogs have been kept separated by their genders so as not to bring anymore puppies into the world.
The dogs are estimated to be between 9 and 11 years of age.
Wythe-Bland Animal Welfare League will be checking on the dogs monthly and bringing their flea control medication. The dogs will be monitored for vaccinations and health matters.
“Thomas suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, which makes him hard to understand, but he cares a lot about his dogs,” stated Misseri. “He said he wouldn’t give up his pets for a million dollars, but he welcomed our help in providing a shelter for his dogs. If we walk away from these animals and not provide the shelter or compassion that they need, then we are equally as negligent.”
While not everyone agrees with the Guardians of Rescue's decision to assist in this rescue, there are 11 dogs who now will be well cared for and monitored for the rest of their lives.
What are your thoughts?
To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit their Facebook by clicking here.
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