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“Lassie Needs a Home”

"Lassie needs a Home"
photo by Vicki Bentley

The longer I live the less things surprise me. But I must say the recent occurrences in Tomball Texas have just shocked me beyond belief. On Friday, August 29th a Federal Judge granted a federal court order for the removal of Collies from the residence of a local licensed eye Doctor. The court had been advised in the doctor’s testimony that she had approximately 35 Collies.
When the volunteers arrived they expected the seizure to take several hours, little did they know the magnitude of what they had uncovered. The conditions the dogs were living in were straight out of a horror show. Dogs covered in urine and feces, smells that took your breath away and made you want to vomit. Collies matted to the skin, almost unable to walk because of the caked mats.
Once the removal was completed the number had grown to a staggering 97 rough and smooth coated Collies. All with different stages of health problems, under weight, tons of skin problems, infected ears and eyes. Several of those were extremely pregnant or had just finished weaning puppies.
But, under all this pain and neglect there was still the sweet smile of the Collie, tails waging as if to say take me, take me, as the volunteers worked to clean and evaluate each one. The Houston Collie Rescue and a large group of volunteers have taken this task to hand. This is not their first dealing with the same supposed Collie breeder, in 2007 the HCR assisted in the placement and care of 51 dogs from this same residence.
The neighbors said they always heard a lot of barking, but because of the privacy fence never saw anything wrong. But yet the volunteers could smell the stench of feces and urine before they even entered the residence.
Why did this happen again, is because we just don’t want to get involved. At what point do we as a society step up and do the right thing and make the phone call that may save a helpless animal. You will never convince me that no one knew that there were 97 Collies that needed help. Why did no one check this situation out after the incident in 2007? I will tell you why, money and time. With budget cuts and people spread thin in the work place, follow-ups by ACO are far and few between. Animal abusers are not criminally charged because of the well being of the dogs that have been seized.
Let me explain, because of the way our court system is set up the ACO would have to hold these animals until a Court case is finished completely. Thus, it is easier on the animals, for their abuser to sign them over to get out of criminal or financial responsibility. So in a way, it is a get out of jail free card, which allows them to become repeat animal abuse offenders. Then there is the economic stand point, one dog in a shelter, takes about $9.00 a day to be maintained. When you do the math and look at the long time cost to for 97 dogs, the amount is staggering. One month care for this number of dogs would be well over thirty thousand dollars. Now add in the fact that most dogs that are seized have major medical problems the cost will go higher.
Someone asked me why it seemed like the Collies seem to have more seizure and hoarding type cases. My answer is simple---it’s a Collie---sweet and accepting of all things no matter how bad you neglect them.

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