Animal rescue is daunting and exhausting and that's on a good day! Ask a rescuer why they do it and most of the time their response always revolves around the animals. Unfortunately, rescuers have learned all to well that "people" are the real problem. Disobedient dogs, pet overpopulation, disease and euthanasia all have one controlling or contributing factor and it's humans.
"We rescue because our hope is one day we won't have to rescue. The reality of rescue is not fun. It's heartbreaking, it's unfair, majority of the time there is no justice for these animals and the rescues are there to pick up the bill at the end of the day." -The Rescue Project
Last weekend, The Rescue Project (TRP) received a phone call from a good Samaritan in Kansas City, KS who was calling to report a dog who had been abandoned after the owners moved away. The poor pooch was left alone in the backyard for months with no care. On occasion a neighbor would take the dog food and water but recently had been unable to so they called for help. TRP volunteers thought that the situation would be bad but they had no idea what was in store for them when they arrived.
As TRP volunteers approached the backyard, they found a weak, dying dog that was covered in flies. His body was entangled in a cable tie-out so badly that he couldn't reach the dirty water or empty food bowl near him. As the volunteers got closer, they were horrified to see that the dog had been tangled up in the tie-out for so long that the cable had embedded itself in his armpit. The dog's collar was also embedded at least one-inch under his skin. Within a week, he would have died there alone in a backyard, tied to a pole and deserted by the family that was supposed to love him forever.
TRP carefully loaded the whimpering dog into a crate and they rushed him to Dearborn Animal Clinic where volunteers and Stephanie Henshaw from Love 4 Paws Rescue worked to clean the dog's wounds as much as possible. Henshaw had already graciously agreed to accept the dog, now named "Toby", into her rescue program. After ensuring Toby was as clean and as comfortable as possible they left him to rest up for a big day of surgery the next morning.
On Monday morning Toby pulled through surgery like the strong, courageous dog that he is. Stephanie Henshaw with Love 4 Paws told KSHB 41 reporters,
"What happened to this dog is just pure negligence. I mean, they would have been better off before moving out of the house to untie this dog and let him run the streets of KCK and fend for himself, so in essence they literally left him to die."
Toby has a very long recovery ahead of him but that won't deter The Rescue Project or Love 4 Paws volunteers from whispering promises of a better life into his ear.
"People are not being prosecuted appropriately and until we get better laws in place, unfortunately, we'll continue to see more situations like Toby's. We will work every angle to make sure justice is served for Toby." -Andrea Knobbe, Executive Director, The Rescue Project
It's against the law to abandon a dog in Wyandotte County and violators face a misdemeanor charge and a fine up to $1,000. Sadly, animal welfare laws are often ignored, even by law enforcement. Animal lovers and advocates think the penalties and lack of prosecution on animal abuse cases just isn't enough.
"If you can raise the expectation, than you have a better chance of people actually following the rules." Keith Wiedenkeller, president and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City told KSHB 41 on Monday.
Toby is in need of a caring foster home to help him through his recovery. If you're interested in fostering or adopting Toby, contact Stephanie at Love 4 Paws via Facebook by clicking here or by the website at www.love4pawsrescue.org. Donations are also needed to assist in payment of the massive veterinarian bills this sweet boy is sure to have.
The Rescue Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that's dedicated to improving the lives of needy animals living in under-served Kansas City communities. TRP presents community education programs on animal overpopulation and disease control. TRP volunteers can be seen in classrooms educating students or in the field educating pet owners on how to properly care for pets. Best of all, they are in backyards poised with bolt-cutters and ready to replace dogs' heavy log chains with safer cable tie-outs. TRP also provides fly bags and SWAT ointment to aid in deterring the pesky flies that most outreach dogs have. Monetary and item donations are encouraged. For more information, visit www.therescueproject.net or check them out on Facebook.
If you see a neglected dog in Kansas City, call your local animal control first. If you receive no response, contact The Rescue Project at (816) 366-5434.