I am still plugging along, attempting to pin down details on the Alabama 44. Mainly, I am hoping to account for the last 3 dogs. If you have any information on the whereabouts of these 3 dogs (see below for details on the other 41 dogs), please share. In addition, there have been several discrepancies that have emerged regarding the case which I’ll address with the limited information I have. Anyone with additional info, please chime in.
First, News@Norman posted an update on the situation at the Lincoln Co Animal Services shelter in NC today and it included this bit:
The Humane Society of the US, which arranged the rescue of 44 dogs from the Alabama hoarder, has come under fire for sending the dogs to Lincoln County. Some of them are tracking the disposition of all of the dogs they are referring to as the “Alabama 44.”
After being criticized for the decision the Alabama organization issued this statement:
“It has come to our attention that four of the dogs sent to the Lincoln Shelter were deemed unadoptable and may have been euthanized via the gas chamber method of euthanasia. This shelter did use the gas chamber as a euthanasia method, a method still used in underfunded areas of the country, but one extremely disfavored by our organization. HSUS has a long history of working to help shelters move away from gas chamber euthanasia. We have also worked to change policies at the state level in legislatures and we hope the day will come soon when the gas chamber is completely abandoned, by all shelters. We also work to end the euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals. It is deeply disturbing to us that these dogs may have been euthanized by this method and we are disappointed and saddened that we were not notified in advance so that we could look for other options for the dogs.
“ As a precaution, when allegations of wrongdoing at the shelter surfaced, the remaining six dogs were moved to other shelters in North Carolina. However, we cannot substantiate any of those allegations. The Lincoln County Shelter has also committed to stop using the gas chamber as a method of euthanasia, and we applaud that decision and have offered to assist in the cost of removing it from the shelter,” the organization stated.
Per this HSUS statement, 4 dogs may have been killed at Lincoln Co, not 3 as I had been told by shelter staff in previous phone calls. If 4 is correct, that would account for one of the several dogs transferred to Charlotte whose status is unknown.
Second, there is the issue of the total number of dogs. 44 has been given as the total by several sources but 48 has appeared in a few places, including here:
Coordinating the response is Michelle Lee [of New Leash on Life], who said 48 animals are to be rescued by court order so they all have a chance for survival.
This brings up a third discrepancy – Owner surrender vs. seizure. I spoke to Ms. Lee today and she said she was unsure what the total number of dogs ended up being and didn’t know any details of the case (such as the means by which HSUS removed the dogs – voluntary surrender or court order) beyond a few e-mails HSUS circulated when lining up shelters and rescues to take the dogs. The interview she gave where she made the above statement was prior to her group actually receiving any of the dogs. So it seems reasonable to my mind to carry on with the assumption that 44 is the correct number and owner surrender is the means by which HSUS got the dogs.
One of the dogs at Bliss Animal Haven is listed on Petfinder and his description includes the following line:
Due to neglect, Trevor is heartworm positive.
I’m not at all sure this is fair. (The text also describes the former owner as a “hoarder” which I think is, at best, a dubious accusation.) Per Marshall Co ACO Kevin Hooks, 43 out of the 44 dogs tested negative for heartworm. For a pack of dogs living outdoors in the south, that doesn’t sound like a lucky coincidence to me. It sounds like they were getting heartworm meds. And just because 1 of the 44 came up positive, I hardly think that qualifies as “neglect”. Rather, it could be simply a case of a dog vomiting up a heartworm dose in the bushes unbeknownst to the owner or a number of other reasonable explanations which don’t involve neglect.
Here is my current list on the Alabama 44:
Status: Located (22 dogs)
3 dogs at Bliss Animal Haven in Loganville, GA, all available for adoption
4 dogs transferred from Lincoln Co Animal Services in NC to Humane Society of Charlotte. (Read an update from a commenter stating she is Merry’s foster mom here. Read a comment providing status updates on all 4 dogs here.) I spoke to HS of Charlotte president Shelly Moore on 1-6-11. She confirmed that Chow Phat (listed on their website) received surgery to correct bilateral entropion and is now available for adoption. Merry (and her pups) and the other 2 dogs (both males, about 3 years old) will be available for adoption in future. At time of transfer from Lincoln Co, all 4 lacked in social skills but no major health issues beyond the entropion previously mentioned. Ms. Moore says HS of Charlotte is a no kill shelter and all the dogs will be cared for until adopted.
Status: Dead (6 dogs)
4 dogs at Lincoln Co Animal Services in NC – Per shelter records, 3 were listed as “sick”. They were Murray, Harry and dog #38805. The 4th dog I received no information on via the shelter although Martha Lide, the Assistant Co Manager for Lincoln Co provided this info:
There were 10 dogs from Alabama. Four dogs were sent to the Charlotte Humane Society. Two dogs were sent to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control. Four dogs were euthanized. Of the four dogs that were euthanized, one was determined to be sick and aggressive and three were determined to be aggressive. It is our understanding that the animals were raised in an environment with little or no human contact and they were in a feral state. If you would like any more information about these animals, you may want to contact Kim Album, Executive Director of the North Carolina Humane Society. Her number is 919-744-5093.
2 puppies at Humane Society of Etowah Co in AL – The pups were less than 10 weeks old and came in very sick. Parvo was suspected and both were euthanized. They were the youngest of the group of 44 and the only 2 who appeared to be sick.
Status: Unknown (16 dogs)
10 dogs dropped at the Nashville Humane Association in TN. None listed on their website. On their FAQ page, they state that pets in their care are killed “only if it is necessary due to illness or behavior problems”. At least some of the original 44 dogs reportedly had behavioral problems. I was unable to get any information about the dogs in a phone call.
2 dogs transferred from Lincoln Co Animal Services to Charlotte-Mecklenburg shelter. Their kill rate is about 65%. Both dogs are listed on Char-Meck’s site – Daisy (ID#A797513) and an unnamed male (A797514).
1 puppy escaped from her New Leash on Life foster home in TN and hasn’t been found.
3 dogs remain unaccounted for and I’m still looking for them. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these 3 dogs, please share.
Update, January 6: I amended the above list to reflect the most current information.