Faith Hope and Love is a local rescue in the Orlando area. I've written before on the rescues who are "favored" by Orange County Animal Services and those that are not. FHL was one of the unlucky ones. Though they thought they were playing by the rules, this past June, OCAS showed up at the rescue and confiscated the dogs, based on numerous unsubstantiated complaints about poor housing, dogfighting, no air conditioning...none of which were true.
Here is some historical information on the case. On May 16, 2013, Officer Holton checked the property, and it passed inspection. However, the records were not updated with the new information. Though FHL had repeatedly contacted OCAS about updating the paperwork regarding the building/moving of a new shed in which to house the animals, with a scheduled move date of 6/21/13, they had repeatedly been ignored by OCAS management, although the completed and accepted property inspection was a public record. The location of FHL had already been zoned agricultural and commercial, so there was, in fact, no violation.
On 6/20/13, the day before the scheduled relocation, OCAS confiscated ALL the animals.
That day, 15 healthy dogs were euthanized upon immediate arrival back at OCAS headquarters including Mary Jane, pictured above. Some of the other dogs that met the same fate were Baby Boy, Sam, Bacon, King, Jet, Raya and Whippet. One dog who had epilepsy had a stroke from the stress. Most of FHL dogs are pits or pit mixes. This is obviously breed discrimation at it's worst. The practice of BSL (breed specific legislation) is illegal in Orange County.
FHL President, Liz Keiffer, was not at the rescue at the time when her dogs were seized; she had been hospitalized with a stroke and was further devastated to learn what had happened in her absence. The dogs were not in any peril while she was hospitalized, and were being cared for by volunteers. Unfortunately one trusted individual allowed OCAS access to the property and the dogs were removed without proper authority or paperwork.
That's how they do things at OCAS if you're not "favored". Threats, intimidation, harassment. A local TV station did a story about the seizure, but did not bother interviewing Ms. Keiffer or anyone associated with the rescue. Shoddy journalism in my book.
Though she was promised by OCAS that the dogs would all be returned to her, and not put up for rescue or adoption, that obviously turned out to be a lie. As an example of the condition and behavior of the confiscated FHL dogs, here is a description written by a behaviorist at OCAS regarding one of the dogs:
EVALUATION At time of the evaluation dog was friendly when approached at the cage and walks well on the leash. Dog was fine to restrain and allowed for me to pull at her ears, face, tail and paws. Dog showed no signs of food or animal aggression. Dog is approved for adoption, rescue or feature." Please let us know if anyone can take her!
Eventually some of the animals were returned, but because of the actions of OCAS, FHL lost their contract with Petco, who had been their rescue partner. Petco had been allowing Liz to bring her dogs to the Bumby facility for adoptive meet and greets. This loss of public contact was a devastating blow for FHL and the animals.
I recently went to a local training facility to drop off some blankets for the rescue so the animals can sleep a bit more comfortably - the FHL animals are currently being housed there. The animals are being well cared for in the facility, but they are not in a place with which they are familiar, and they get zero public exposure to potential adopters.
So why am I writing this story 5 months after the events? Because Liz and FHL are determined to keep on keeping on and they are looking for some assistance. Per Liz, the sell date on her house is January 9, 2014. In her own words,
"The Judge gave me more time because of the animals. The rescue needs help. I praise God for answering my prayers for more time. I would like to keep these guys with me and continue to try to find homes. Kind of hard right now after what happened in June. The rescue needs help with either fundraising, finding sponsors or simply getting the word out for these guys to be safe. I am not giving up until I hand over the keys in January."
Over the past 5 years, FHL has successfully placed over 400 pets in loving new homes. They have found some facilities which would great for housing the animals. But the $$ are not there. Here are some videos so you can see the dogs and cats that are currently in need of homes; most of these videos have just been posted in the last week.
Here is a link to photos of many of the available animals: http://ulocal.wesh.com/_FaithHopeLove-pets-needing-homes/set/167280/63272.html
If you would like to be a part in their effort and help please contact Liz at 407-394-8999 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to like their Facebook page at:
Ms. Keiffer, you ARE rescue.