Los Angeles, Calif. - A female pit bull-American foxhound mix, named Katrina, and her five puppies were dumped at a high-kill Los Angeles County shelter. Without rescue intervention, the puppies' lives would have likely ended at three months of age. As for the attentive and loving canine mama, she was significantly more at risk for a destiny with the dreaded needle since she lacked the endearing traits of puppyhood.
Best Friends Animal Society - a large, well-funded and well-known animal rescue organization - swooped in and "heroically" saved the puppies and sent them on transport out of the area. Although one would expect Best Friends to have saved the mama dog - given the organization's size, reputation and resources - that just didn't happen. Mama Katrina was left behind.
When Best Friends was questioned as to why it failed to take Mama Katrina, one of its representatives claimed they didn't know the puppies' mother was also at the shelter and in need of being rescued. Since the puppies were weaned, it is certainly plausible - although many dispute that claim, as shown by the comments made underneath an urgent facebook post by Sasha Rose in her attempt at finding a rescue for Mama Katrina.
However, what cannot be disputed is that Best Friends did later learn that Mama Katrina was still at the shelter; yet, they did not behave as "heroically" as they did when they rescued her puppies. Unfortunately, this is allegedly not the first time Best Friends had knowledge of a mother dog’s existence, but left her behind at the shelter after having pulled the puppies. Instances of questionable acts are mentioned in several comments made under Rose's facebook post.
This scenario is very troubling. Forget compassion, sympathy or empathy for the downtrodden girl who just gave birth to, and lovingly cared for her puppies. As an "animal rescue" organization, where was its sense of duty to immediately take action to save the puppies' mother's life as soon as they learned she was still at the shelter?
As a general matter, animal rescue advocates possess more than a mere awareness of ethical responsibility - i.e., duty - to the animals that need rescuing. They have genuine compassion - a trait that was seemingly absent from Best Friend's management, which chose to rescue Mama Katrina's puppies, but apparently ignored any sense of urgency to rescue sweet Mama Katrina. [fn1]
When Jf Pryor, co-founder (along with co-founder, Nikki Audet) of The Mutt Scouts, learned about Mama Katrina sitting at the shelter, he couldn't sleep. The following is Pryor's facebook post about this unfortunate situation, verbatim:
Devastated. I could not sleep. I caught wind of yet another mother dog whose pups were scooped up at the shelter by a large, funded "rescue", while she remained behind, facing imminent death. Perhaps because I appreciated and loved my mother while she was on the planet, and saw the multitude of sacrifices she made for her children to thrive, that this hit me so hard. Or perhaps, it wounded because it is simply - wrong.
Thoughts raced. I was sick. Just like the last year of my life, the struggle had rendered me anxious and unable to sleep. This org - who has been called out on this kind of action before - stated publicly that they 'did not know' this momma, Katrina, existed. Sure they took her weaned babies and sent them onward to another shelter, but they had no idea the mother was in the same county shelter. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and they didn’t know about her. But then when they DID know of her?.....Nothing. Silence. Instead lame ... marketing-crafted excuses.
So I waited. believing that with their giant donor-based resources that upper management WOULD see the light, and hear the MANY public requests, and do the right thing and lift her to safety. Sadly, we all know the fate of pit bull mix mothers at the shelter whose time us up, and who can no longer hide behind the security and desirability of their pups.
So I waited longer… More than 43 hours, all the while worrying that at any moment this mom could be killed.
I naively held hope that the very rescue who 'saved' her babies would do the right thing, once the public was onto the fact that they repeatedly violated this 'unwritten rescue code,' by leaving a mother to die.
Well. I was wrong.
More spin. 'We cannot take them all.' 'Our contract won't allow us to.'
Sorry, when one who gave birth and suckled babies, and was then DUMPED at a county shelter, and had her babies lifted to safety...and then is facing the threat of death crosses my radar...there is only one option.
Having been in rescue for years, maintaining a good reputation with one of - humbly - the most profoundly amazing Teams in Los Angeles, and having pridefully saved many families, I know it is a iron clad rule that if you are pulling babies, you pull momma.
It is RESPECT.
It is DIGNITY.
It is HONORING the code of life.
It is RESPONSIBLE RESCUE.
So I headed down with valued folk that I rescue with, and we went to meet the momma in question.
What a BEAUTY. When I looked into Katrina's eyes and asked her, she had NO idea why she was there.
I commend the shelter as they did an exceptional job to not only keep her alive, but tried to boost her confidence, and turn her sadness into hope. It is never lost on me that there are a great number of amazing shelter workers, who are huge animal lovers, and who give their all with zero budget, and with hearts that are crushed on a daily basis.
I asked if there was any Interested Parties in this lovely momma, and was told no. There was no maybe - she needed out. She needed saving - NOW. So I pulled her. She is a Mutt Scout.
We placed her with our collective rescue. I promised her safety, comfort, affection and a BRIGHT FUTURE, while we find her a LOVING home of her own. Even though I do not know this momma, I felt I owed her something. She is any of us that has ever been used for what we are able to offer, and then discarded, abused, or forgotten.
Deal is, any rescue that would pull & profit off the babies - by number or dollar - and then be aware of, and leave a momma - would then distance themselves from her fight for life, SO sends me into the depths of illness and anger.
Now this. Appears that Katrina's original thread has been edited. Seems management thought better of an earlier comment and deleted it. And what's more, a NEW POLISHED thread posted by the "rescue" that left her behind, claiming ALL OF A ... SUDDEN that they 'were headed down to get her (despite telling everyone that they could not per their contract) and that - miracle of miracles - Katrina had been adopted.
I have her.
She is with our rescue, because we were NOT going to let her die a statistic. People need to wake up wider. People need to know that it is not wise to drink everything you are offered. People need to know that something that is large and popular does NOT mean it is bursting with INTEGRITY.
Most of us groups - some that belong to 'the club,' and many that do not, are busting our asses with tiny budgets, but bigger commitments to integrity - realize that we can only do what we can do. That it is important to be ethical, and that those of us that insist on home checks during an adoption are doing due diligence, and NOT - as suggested by this same group that could not bother with Katrina - 'too picky' and thus responsible for shelter deaths.
Most of us are not paid to do what we do.
We pour our souls - as a collective - into helping right wrongs, by doing what we can for so many millions of these abused, neglected, and abandoned kids.
We are real.
We are transparent.
We do not promise, encourage, or deceive through brands and tag lines, but instead are out there daily trying to do what is right as we SAVE THE REST.
It is interesting - no, comically suspicious - to note that Best Friends repeatedly edited the "facts" posted on its facebook page to explain why it did not take Mama Katrina. The organization initially stated they couldn't take her because they were contractually prohibited from taking an animal that is not in the Los Angeles Animal Service system to their no-kill shelter. Then, they edited the statement, claiming "[Katrina] was adopted into a loving home" as they were heading back to the shelter to get her (which makes no sense since the rep originally claimed Best Friends could not take her pursuant to the terms of the contract). The post was again edited after the rescue community began questioning its validity and accuracy. This most recent version of events can be found here.
Having been involved in the world of animal rescue, this author has learned - sometimes the hard way - that not all rescue organizations are all of what they tout themselves to be to the public.
Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: The Mutt Scouts is the real deal. The Mutt Scouts lives up to its mission statement and surely has this author's endorsement, as well as the endorsements of many others in the rescue community.
Hats off to The Mutt Scouts!
God speed, Mama Katrina! Have a wonderful life.
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