Rescues pulling dogs from out-of-state shelters should follow the laws regarding pet transport for every state on the route. This means obtaining health certificates and age appropriate rabies vaccinations for each dog on the transport. Rescuers need to be especially careful when pulling puppies as they are more vulnerable to the common deadly shelter diseases such as parvo and distemper. And if a rescue group is pulling twenty-seven puppies from a shelter on a single transport – that’s twenty-seven times the need for careful attention to the law.
Parvo and distemper both are very contagious and the potential for death is high. Supportive veterinary care is too expensive for many rescuers, especially when the chances for survival are limited, at best. Even if the pups look ok at the time of pick-up (and granted, this can be tricky as pups might be scared and not acting normally), the vet exam for the health certificate will get the rescuer a professional opinion on whether the pup appears to be free of disease. The shelter should provide details on any known exposure and this information should be given to the vet performing the health certificate exam.
But let’s say, whatever the reason, rescuers don’t follow the law and obtain a health certificate for their shelter pups being put on a transport. What’s the worst that could happen? For starters, any pups who are harboring contagious diseases could infect all the other dogs on the transport. Subsequently, every dog coming off the transport may have been exposed and may infect other dogs at their final destination. Furthermore, if a rescue group pulls twenty-seven puppies and only gets them vetted once they have arrived, they might find out that most of the pups have parvo and be forced to euthanize en masse or beg for $20,000 to help cover vet bills.
I am all for treating sick pets who are not medically hopeless. At the same time, I am also for following the law and spending donations from the public wisely. The Barkley Foundation, a rescue group in Iowa apparently failed to follow the law for bringing twenty-seven puppies from a NC shelter into their state. Upon arrival, it was determined that most of the pups had parvo. The group proceeded to post on Facebook and set up a ChipIn for $20,000, stating they might have to close their doors and/or euthanize the sick puppies. The Examiner picked up the group’s story as well. Everyone appears to feel sorry for the rescuers because they were trying to do the right thing and then this bad thing happened to them.
Well, no. In my view, they failed to follow the law and transported sick pups across state lines. Now they want people to donate $20,000 to help pay the vet bills for this group of pups who never should have been transported in the first place. If donations had been spent on obtaining the health certificates before embarking on the transport, the vet may well have deemed at least some of the pups unfit for travel, refused the health certificates and cautioned rescuers about exposing other dogs. Imagine how many healthy/treatable shelter pets could be helped for $20,000. It boggles the mind.
If this rescue were to shut its doors, would that be such a bad thing?
Thank you Kim for alerting me to this story.