10/14/10 — Rescued dogs sent to shelters

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Rescued dogs sent to shelters

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on October 14, 2010 1:46 PM

A Rockingham County judge Wednesday awarded custody of the more than 100 animals seized from a Reidsville couple's home, including about 60 Wayne County dogs, to the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.

Thomas and Amber Adkins of Reidsville each face 25 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. They appeared in court Wednesday.

"The findings of the judge were that all animals were to be signed over to the Sheriff's Office. (The Adkinses) asked for custody of what they called their own animals, but that was denied," Rockingham County Sheriff's Deputy Dean Venable said.

Law enforcement officers, working in conjunction with the county animal control, removed 93 dogs, six dead dogs, two ferrets, five chinchillas, five guinea pigs, six goats and a horse from the Adkinses' property Monday. Venable said 19 of the dogs were euthanized after being evaluated by veterinarians.

Many of the dogs seized from the property came from the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center. The Adkinses were reportedly acting as volunteers with the Pancake Hollow Farm and Rescue in Highlands, N.Y. They were holding the dogs prior to transporting them to the New York facility, where they would have been placed for adoption, Pancake Hollow Farm and Rescue operations manager Andrew McKee said.

The Humane Society of the United States is now helping the Sheriff's Office to disperse the animals that are healthy enough to be placed with local shelters and rescues, Venable said. At this point, it appears none of the dogs will be returning to Wayne County.

Most of the dogs should be able to be placed for adoption, said Jordan Crump, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States.

"We are working with several local rescue groups, a couple of shelter groups in the area. We've paid for the additional medical costs of some of the dogs and the boarding over the last few days," Ms. Crump said.

There are a few dogs with medical issues, she added.

The dogs will likely not be moving on to the Pancake Hollow Farm and Rescue in New York, said McKee, although the rescue did offer to take the animals as originally planned.

"We wanted them to be safe, that was our main concern," McKee said.

It is common for rescue groups to have arrangements with volunteers to transport dogs facing euthanization, Ms. Crump said.

"People all over the country do transport. In most cases it can be a great thing. I know several rescue groups specifically that house animals for a couple of weeks, and take death row dogs that are about to be euthanized and take them, usually, from the south to the north," she said.

Usually the transportation of homeless animals works well to relocate and adopt out dogs and cats that come from shelters with a high euthanization rate. But sometimes, a situation occurs like the one in Reidsville, she said.

"You do always have a couple of bad apples, and if someone's taking in more than they can handle, people can become overwhelmed," Ms. Crump said.

Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center officials did know about the plan to transport the dogs to the New York rescue, and checked out the rescue as "respectable and legitimate," Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said Tuesday in a statement released by his office. The rescue requested that the county give the animals to the Adkinses for transport.

"We just recently transferred the animals and this was the first time we had given animals to that individual," Smith said.

The state Department of Agriculture's veterinary division was tipped off by an unidentified source about reported inhumane conditions at the site. Officials contacted Rockingham County Animal Control, who investigated.

The animals might or might not have had access to adequate food and water, and several of the dogs were seen eating from the dead carcasses on the property, deputies reported. The dogs from Wayne County were on the property for about ten days after being taken from the adoption center, McKee said.