Animal league continues care of 102 rescued dogs, puppies

Kate Ryan,

WASHINGTON – As the 102 dogs seized from an Arkansas puppy mill anxiously await permanent homes, the intake process at the Washington Animal Rescue League in Northwest D.C. is still unfolding.

The dogs came in off a truck last week, and the health assessments are still underway. The dogs have an array of health issues, some temporary and some chronic.

Dr. Jan Rosen, medical director at WARL lists some of the things she’s seeing: “Eye problems, ear problems, parasites — lots of them have internal parasites.”

And then there are the dental issues. A look inside the mouths of these dogs, which have never had dental care, may be a good lesson for dog owners who think brushing their dog’s teeth is silly.

A quick check of a Shetland sheepdog taken from the puppy mill shows some trouble.

“This one’s moving. It’s going to have to come out,” Rosen says as she runs her fingers over the dog’s teeth.

Rosen points out most of what she’s seeing is not major, and many of the health issues are temporary. With proper care in the future most will do just fine.

Long-time WARL veterinary technician Gerri Lee says this group of dogs is in good shape emotionally, considering they came from a puppy mill setting.

“After we put our hands on them and gave them hugs and stuff, they started calming down,” Lee says.

“I think they figured out they made it to the best place they could make it to. We haven’t gotten one with a bad attitude yet.”

Dr. Jenna Randall-Smith was on the job for just three days when the massive influx of dogs came in.

“It was incredible and confirmation of why I wanted to do this,” she says of her work at WARL.

Randall-Smith, who says she didn’t always feel satisfied with her private practice work, has been tempted to adopt one of the rescued dogs.

She and her husband are placing bets on how long before she brings a dog home. She says less than a month.

Randall-Smith says getting 102 dogs at the same time felt a bit overwhelming, but the intake process at WARL is a well-oiled machine.

She says as hard as it is to see dogs come out of horrific situations, she focuses on the fact that she’s making a difference for the dogs that do make it to the shelter.

“These dogs are lucky and we’re lucky that we get to do this,” she says.

Following health assessements, the dogs will be put through behavioral evaluations and then put up for adoption.

One by one, the hope is that they’ll find their ideal match in a permanent, loving home.

Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)