It seems too horrifying to be possible, but there are a lot of people out there who mistreat animals. From animal abuse to puppy mills to hoarding situations, there are many sweet, loving animals who are living in tragic conditions.
Foster Homes and Adoptions Saved These Animals
Fortunately, there are people and groups whose mission it is to save these animals and give them better lives. The animals you see in shelters are just a small fraction of the wonderful pets who have come from awful situations. Many other people foster animals in their own homes. Here are some of the most heartwarming tales of dogs who have been rescued from awful conditions.
A Hoarding Situation
A case of hoarding in San Diego put nearly one hundred dogs at risk. The owner of the animals had been hoarding Yorkshire terriers and Yorkshire terrier mixed breed dogs. It seems that, unlike in many similar situations, the people who had taken in the dogs had good intentions, but the situation quickly escalated.
Stephen MacKinnon, the chief of Humane Law Enforcement for the San Diego Humane Society said that the owners had reached out to the humane society looking for help. The elderly couple had bitten off more than they could chew and had found themselves overrun with dogs.
Stephen MacKinnon added, “We see this type of situation all too often when well-intentioned people get in over their heads.” The poor dogs were living in unsanitary conditions when they were rescued by the San Diego Humane Society and brought to a team of veterinarians and animal care professionals. Some of them had long, matted hair and had to be shaved to remove tangles.
Other dogs were sick and had to be treated for wounds and other illnesses. President and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society, Gary Weitzman, said that the situation was a difficult one, but one that happens all too often.
A Happy Ending
“We always dread seeing a situation like this. It’s tragic for the animals and often for the people involved. But when this happens, our first response is always for the animals,” said Dr. Weitzman in an official statement to the press.
He added, “We want to get them away from a dangerous situation as quickly and compassionately as possible, both for the animals and the people involved.” Fortunately, all of the animals involved in the hoarding situation received medical care and were put up for adoption so they could find loving homes. It’s a happy ending to what could have been a tragic tale.
Another sad and shocking hoarding situation involved a home in Leelanau, Michigan that had more than forty Pomeranians on the property. The dogs were in poor condition, suffering from illness. Some of them were covered in fleas and worms and needed to receive medical attention.
The animals were rescued by the Pine Cone Farm animal shelter. A volunteer group was organized to clean up the mistreated dogs to get them ready for a special adoption event where the animals could find new homes. Many people donated money and food in order to help the pooches get a new start in life.
A New Start
The owner of the Pine Cone Farm animal shelter said that all of the animals found homes. “It’s been terrific,” she said. ”We’ve had so many people that have poured their hearts out. We’ve had donations, and pet food and the best thing is some of the older guys got homes which I was a little worried about. Some of the seniors getting homes and they all got homes.”
The organization gradually rescued the remaining dogs who were still being hoarded on the property and found the rest of the poor Pomeranians safe and loving homes where they could live happily ever after.
Hundreds of Hoarded Dogs
A New Jersey hoarding incident involved nearly 300 dogs. Authorities called the incident “the worst hoarding case that we’ve ever experienced.” The rescuers who arrived on the scene were expecting to see around 80 dogs inside the home where they were being hoarded but found more than three times that.
Inside the home were at least 276 small dogs. There were Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, pugs, and other breeds of dogs in the home. While most of the animals were found to be in fair condition, it’s shocking considering just how horrifying and filthy the home they were staying in was.
Inside the home were large amounts of feces and urine. The place was completely covered in filth in garbage. Dogs were everywhere; officials even found some hiding inside the walls. Many of the dogs were pregnant, and some were even giving birth as they were being evacuated from the home.
Rescuers wore hazmat suits as the brought the dogs after the house. Some of the animals had to be given oxygen masks to help them breathe. Ross Licitra, the chief law enforcement officer of the Monmouth County SPCA said, “It’s been quite an overwhelming situation,” he said. “If you can imagine 100-200 animals living inside of a home, that are allowed to run free, it’s deplorable.”
The owners of the home tried to defend themselves, saying that the situation had spiraled out of control. The couple, Joseph and Charlene Hendrick, started with just eight dogs. Over a period of three years, the animals (who weren’t fixed) started breeding resulting in the horrifying situation.
According to the authorities, the couple were being “extremely cooperative” although they still faced “an enormous amount of charges.” Despite the unsanitary conditions, however, the couple did not have cruel intentions and simply found themselves in a situation that they couldn’t handle and alerted the authorities to the problem before it got even worse.
Dog fighting is illegal in the United States. Still, that doesn’t stop some particularly cruel and vicious people from forcing dogs into the dog fighting ring, hoping to profit off of the bloodthirsty event.
To make matters even worse, the dog fighting rings often involve dogs hoarded in unspeakable conditions. Not only are the poor animals forced to fight each other, they often don’t receive medical attention or proper nourishment. Large dog fighting rings often have hundreds of dogs living in horrifying conditions. Some dogs that have been rescued from such disgusting situations have sustained large injuries and barely made it out alive.
A Huge Bust
The largest raid of dogfighting rings resulted in the rescue of more than 350 dogs and the arrest of 30 people. The raid happened in 2009 and is the largest raid of dogfighting operations in the United States.
A behavioral psychologist for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dr. Randall Lockwood, spoke about the horrors of dog fighting. “These are animals which are so eager to please. Yet they have been bred to fight and die for human amusement. I do see dog fighting as the greatest violation of that special bond between people and dogs.”
What happens to dogs in these situations is beyond horrifying. Prosecuting attorneys involved in the situation announced some of the details of what those arrested had one. Not only were the dogs mistreated and forced to fight in the ring, but they were also often killed and mutilated.
When the animals didn’t fight well, they would often be shot in the head. Their bodies would be thrown into a river or burned in a barrel. It’s shocking to think of anyone treating a living being in such a despicable manner, but this is commonplace for those involved in dog fighting rings.
A Long Investigation
The investigation into the dog fighting ring lasted for a year and a half. Tips from multiple sources came in, and anti-cruelty workers worked with federal authorities to free the dogs and put those responsible for their torture behind bars.
Dog fighting rings go beyond animal cruelty. The events are often part of large and organized criminal networks. The president of the Humane Society of Missouri, Kathy Warnick, helped to bring down the dog fighting ring, saying “This heinous, heinous blood sport is not going to be tolerated.” By cracking down on dog fighting, authorities are reminding criminals that the act is not only disgusting but also illegal.
In 2008, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick pled guilty to charges of dog fighting. The incident caused a huge scandal, with fans quickly turning against the former sports icon. The dogs were housed in Vick’s Bad News Kennels which turned out to be bad news for the poor animals confined there.
Fortunately, most of the animals were not suffering too much (aside from the injuries they sustained while fighting). Otherwise, they were fed and kept in reasonably decent conditions. Most of them were adopted by new owners or sent to an animal sanctuary, giving them another chance at having a happy home.
A Global Effort
Dogs are found in tragic conditions all over the world. Fortunately, there are many rescue groups and societies who work to save them from their sad circumstances. Many of the groups are run by volunteers and are primarily funded by donations.
Despite the number of dogs who are looking for a home, people still relentlessly breed animals. Many animals who come from puppy mills and breeding farms are mistreated. Other animals are turned out onto the street or kept in captivity, raised to fight each other or to be slaughtered and sold as meat. Thankfully, there are many people fighting against these things.
The global market for dog meat is vast. While it isn’t the most popular source of food, many people raise dogs as a cheap source of meat. Many unscrupulous food vendors put dog meat in their cooking and pass it off as beef, or mix it with other meats to lower the price of the meal while fooling unsuspecting customers who would never dream of consuming dog meat.
Dog meat farms can be found throughout the world, but many people are fighting against the dog meat trade. Most dogs who are raised to be slaughtered for their meat are kept in abysmal conditions.
Humane Society International
Since 2015, hundreds of dogs have been saved by Humane Society International. The organizations work to shut down the international dog meat trade. They have shut down six dog meat farms so far, bringing the dogs to animal shelters who participate in The Humane of the United States’ Emergency Placement Partner Program.
These shelters are located all over the United States and work to place the animals in loving homes where they will become beloved parts of the family. The shelters help give these dogs a long and healthy life where they will be able to roam freely in a safe and caring environment.
The most recent dog meat farm shut down by Humane Society International was in Wonju, South Korea. The operation is located in Gangwon province, not too far from Pyeongchang, the future site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. HSI is using the incident to raise awareness of the dog meat trade and to try to put an end to the industry.
More than 200 dogs were rescued from the dog meat farm and transported to Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom where they received any medical treatment necessary and will be placed with groups which will help them to find new homes.
A Campaign To End Dog Meat Farms
Humane Society International is asking the South Korean government to support a plan to phase out of the dog meat trade and to eventually ban the practice. The attention on Pyeongchang leading up to the Olympics will be immeasurably helpful.
The director of animal protection and crisis response for HSI, Adam Parascandola, said “With the Winter Olympics just over a year away, now is the time for the Korean government to act to end the dog meat trade and let the world focus on the country’s preparations for a great sporting event, rather than on the terrible cruelty of being raised on farms for a product few Koreans consume. These rescued dogs will soon experience the compassion and care of humans that is not afforded to them at these farms. They will serve as ambassadors for the millions of others still suffering on dog meat farms in South Korea.”
Rescued From A Cruel Death
Meet Harriet. The adorable three-year-old Jindo was found living in farm in Wonju, South Korea, that provides dog meat. Along with 200 other doomed pups, Harriet was stuck in miserable conditions, crammed into crowded cages with nothing to protect them from wind and cold. There was no bedding and the dogs lived in their own waste. Harriet is pictured here after her rescue.
In an interview with the Dodo, Nash McCutchen (marketing coordinator the Humane Society of Tampa Bay) did not mince words about the fate of dogs held on farms such as this one. “They’re tortured, and they aren’t always dead when they skin them,” she warned.
A Bed Of Her Own
Luckily, Humane Society International rescued Harriet, and all the other dogs at the farm, early in 2017. Harriet (and 13 other dogs from the rescue) were placed at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. After the ordeal she’d been through, Harriet was understandably skittish and nervous even though she was safe.
A staff member noticed that Harriet seemed to relax when she found a blanket to lay down on. Soon, she even started snoozing peacefully on the blanket. Since Harriet’s first nap in that blanket (her first real bed) she’s made a lot of other progress with socialization and could even become available for adoption soon.
Fiona From Taiwan
These next few dogs come from a group of people from an online community that was asked to share their stories with their rescued dogs. Up first, is a dog from Taiwan named Fiona and she was left by her owner. Let’s find out more about her.
“We rescued Fiona from the streets of Taiwan, through a sister golden retriever rescue here in Los Angeles. Fiona was left abandoned on the streets. The original owner left her on their balcony alone, starving to death. She was love at first sight, and we’ve had her since 2013. She’s now loving life.”
Say Hello To Athena
It is just awful to see anybody or animal famished. Which is why we love to see triumphant stories like this. Athena was skin and bones when she was found and now, she is healthier than ever. All thanks to her new kind owner, Susanne Parker.
“Athena had been tied up outside and left to starve,” said Parker. “When Animal Services took her in, she was 29 pounds. When we got to the shelter, she was shy at first but quickly warmed up. She’s now up to a healthy weight of 65 pounds, and she loves to cuddle.”
Midnight The Dog
This pup had a rough upbringing. When Midnight was barely a few weeks old, she experienced a trauma that isn’t nice for any animal no matter how old they are. Today, she is living better and making her new owner very happy!
“Last September, my boyfriend and I adopted Midnight from an amazing rescue organization in Southeast Michigan called Providing for Paws. Midnight was just a few weeks old when her jaw was broken by a bigger dog. Providing for Paws took her in, paid for her jaw to be fixed, and fostered her for almost a year until we adopted her. I can’t imagine my life without her! She’s the smartest, sweetest little pup ever!”
This dog was either due for better days or no more days at all. Penny was found sleeping in the garbage with skin problems all over. If it weren’t for Grace Kahler, perhaps Penny wouldn’t have made this list but hopefully someone out there would have rescued her.
“I found Penny on the side of the road, sleeping in the garbage,” said Kahler. “She had full-body Demodex mange, fleas, and ticks. After four months of meds, excessive bathing, and a lot of love, I got her adopted. I’m so happy I was able to help her find her forever family!”
Audrey Was Left For Dead
Why would anyone want to leave an animal on the side of the road? Especially one as cute as Audrey. There are always better ways to get rid of a dog that you no longer want. Leaving them out to die is the last thing you want to do as a dog owner. The least you can do is take them to the shelter!
“Audrey was found on the side of the road. She had demodex mange so badly that she nearly died. The photo on the left was actually taken after she got considerably better. She’s the smartest, sweetest, and friendliest dog now. She loves every person she meets and brings massive joy to our lives.”
The Great Progress From Atticus
When the dogs get saved, one of the best things is the before and after pictures. Seeing how much they’ve improved from their bad situations or just how much better they’re doing overall is great to see. For Atticus, he was in a bad situation but his recovery was quick and amazing. Cane Corso Rescue deserve all the credit for this one.
“I volunteer with Cane Corso Rescue, and we saved this baby from a cruelty case back in March. His before picture was when we first got our hands on him. The after picture was from August when he got adopted.”
It’s easy to love a dog because they are so lovable! And when one is found in terrible condition, it makes you want to care for them even more. For Max, he was found left for dead and has been nurtured and cared for three years now. Bringing his spirit back up must have been an amazing feeling.
“We’ve had Max for three years, and he gets daily cuddles and kisses from us! He was found in a field, beaten and poisoned (you can still feel his misshapen skull). He was rescued by a charity and was then placed in a shelter. We love him more than anything.”
It Takes Time
Sometimes, the road to recovery is a long one. But at the end of it, it’s a beautiful thing. And often times, you might feel like giving up but if you focus on the end result, that should be enough to propel you to the finish. Bringing a dog back to health after a long process is a feeling that can’t be duplicated. Making Ned healthy again was a mighty long process but it was well worth the weight.
“When I first adopted him, he had terrible flea dermatitis and an ear infection. Now, three years later, he’s perfectly healthy.”
Call Him Rolla
People who give up on something because it’s different or they are not accustomed to it should reconsider how they go about things. You never truly know how something might end up until you work with it and for this little guy Rolla, he found a home that loves him dearly.
“He was the victim of an at-home crop job. He was born with two extra toes on one of his back feet, so they didn’t think he would make a good fighting dog and ‘practiced’ cutting his ears. He was rescued by Save-A-Bull in Minnesota and found a home with us. The vet fixed his ears, too, so they aren’t sensitive. We love him so much!”
Saved Right On Time
It’s heartbreaking to learn the condition that some of these animals were in when they are found. You’d hate to find out that someone left them there like that but it’s also sad to know that they are just a stray dog. We aren’t sure which happened with Karlos, but we’re glad he’s better now.
“Karlos was found with a wire embedded in his neck and was essentially left on the streets to die. He was rescued by an organization called Wings of Love Kuwait. He’s now a bubbly, cuddly little ball of fluff! He’s been part of our family for six months now.”
Max In The Woods
It doesn’t matter where an abandoned dog, it’s always crushing. But if they’re found somewhere completely away from civilization, it just makes it a little more heart-touching. You don’t wish that kind of fate on any person or animal. This Max was found in the woods.
“We found Max in the woods, covered in mud and ticks. We took him to the shelter to make sure he was OK and wasn’t someone’s missing dog. He’s been the sweetest boy ever since. On the left is the day we found him, and on the right is 40 pounds heavier and a lot of love later!”
Percy Is Living Better
First of all, why would you tie a puppy up to a tree using a wire? If you’re going to get rid of your dog by leaving him or her tied up to something, at least use something that can’t potentially bring harm. Percy was found with wire tied around his neck when he was just a puppy.
“We rescued Percy when he was about three months old. He was found tied by his neck to a tree with a piece of wire. He then had to spend the next four months recovering in an animal hospital for his neck and parasites and such. We’ve had him for a little over a month now, and he has changed our lives.”
Great Family Addition
If you love dogs and you have the chance to add a great one to your family, that is always great. It’s even better knowing that the dog was a rescue dog and had to overcome a lot to get to where he or she is today. Avery was the perfect addition to this family.
“We rescued him from a shelter in Marietta, Ohio. He was found running down the side of a highway. The top pictures are him at the shelter, and the bottom pictures are after. He is such a sweet boy and has the biggest heart. Such a perfect addition to our family.”
His Name Is Remus
Sometimes its hard to know how old or how long a dog has been abandoned for when you first find them. At the end of the day, if you want to rescue them, it shouldn’t matter if they are old or young. Bringing a lost dog back to health and good spirits is more than enough.
“I got Remus four years ago from a shelter. He was there for over six months. They had no idea of his background or age, but they think he had been in quite a few fights. They were unsure if he would ever be adopted. I immediately took him home and, after a month of transitioning, he has been the most loyal, playful, and cuddly dog ever!”
From beginning to end, it’s always a wondrous journey to embark on nurturing a dog. For Stella, she was rescued from a kill shelter in horrible condition. And the only reason she was in that shelter was that everybody had given up on her but not this family.
“The left is Stella when my sister started fostering her from an organization that rescued her from a kill shelter. She had mites and fleas and was itching so much she had scabs all over her face and body. When the time came to find her a forever home, she felt like a member of our family, so I adopted her. She’s the sweetest and most loving dog, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her!”
Peanut Butter And Ellie
Why would you not feed a dog or give it any water? Well, that’s a question for the previous owner of Ellie. Apparently, as a puppy, she was not treated very well and drastic measures had to take place.
“Ellie’s previous owner was so neglectful and wouldn’t give her food or water or attention. My mother basically kidnapped Ellie to save her. When I first met Ellie, I didn’t have ANY dog food on hand so I fed her peanut butter straight out of the jar. Today, she’ll literally do anything for peanut butter. She’s the sweetest and cuddliest pup. Whenever I feel sad, she knows and she cuddles. She’s my four-legged bestie.”
Reid Was Afraid
Even if you put in a lot of work on a rescued dog, there are some that take more help than others. We’ve seen that some are better after three years or even a few months but for Reid, he’s still a work in progress.
“Reid was used as a breeder in a puppy mill before being taken in by a local rescue. He had pretty clearly been abused and was terrified of everything. After four years and a ton of training, he’s made a lot of progress. He knows how to play with toys and even other dogs sometimes. He loves going on walks and cuddling. He still has a lot of fear issues, but he’s made so much progress and we couldn’t be more proud!”
Sage The Pup
Thank everything that’s good for volunteer workers. The ones that do kind deeds from their heart and for nothing else. The little guy was helped by some very generous people!
“I was a volunteer foster parent with Take Me Home in Los Angeles. We rescued animals from California kill shelters and other bad situations. When I first heard that this three-month-old puppy needed help, I took her home right away. She had a horrible case of mange and was severely neglected by her previous owners, with scabs and scratches all over her body. My parents soon fell in love with her and adopted her!”
Dogs are wonderful and loyal animals. They have been bred over centuries to be companions to humans and, as such, deserve a good home. Most of them are not capable of living in the wild, and they certainly do not deserve to live in cruel conditions.
If you would like to get involved with animal rescue groups, there are many of them all over the world. You could also consider adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue group instead of getting one from a breeder. Even if there is a specific breed you want, there are many breed-specific rescue organizations that will help you find your new best friend!