Animal welfare workers worldwide are known to be strong proponents for the licensing and regulation of purebred animal breeders. Much of this advocacy stems from the many abandoned purebred pets that come through shelter doors, left homeless due to chronic illnesses, disabilities and deformities caused by unsanitary conditions and abusive breeding practices of unlicensed individuals. In September 2016, Helen Woodward Animal Center became home to four such puppies. The purebred, female, German Shepherds, ranging in age from 4 to 6 months, were pulled from a deplorable East Los Angeles backyard breeder and transferred to the Center by a rescue partner based in the area. The health problems of the puppies were many but by October, three of the four pups (Romilde, Rosa and Renata) were in good shape and happily went off to their forever homes. For one puppy named Rolanda, however, the damage done may have longer lasting repercussions.
The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) latest studies show an approximate number of 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. with fewer than 3,000 regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (2015). The report states, “The health impacts of overcrowding, filthy conditions, and lack of basic oversight can be traced directly to the housing and husbandry conditions. Wire floors injure paws, high ammonia levels lead to breathing problems, and the lack of sanitation results in pathogens that are very difficult to permanently eradicate. Caging set-ups designed to require the most minimal hands-on care possible often lead to treatable injuries or infections becoming severe or even deadly.”
The four rescued purebreds all arrived with signs of the difficult lives they had already endured. None of the puppies had been spayed or vaccinated, one was suffering a serious eye-infection, another – potential hip-dysplasia, and all were dealing with extreme GI infections. But what touched Center staff the most, was how little the puppies personalities were affected by their illnesses. “They were so eager to trust us,” stated Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoptions Services Manager Amy Barnes. “Animals don’t feel sorry for themselves and they continually demonstrate their beautiful capacity to forgive and to love with their whole hearts.”
As weeks passed and her sisters’ treatments proved successful, Rolanda continued to struggle. As months went by, the Center veterinary team was forced to confirm that Rolanda’s neglect in early life indicated potential challenges for the rest of it. Rolanda’s current diagnosis includes the coronavirus (the most common symptom is diarrhea) which may or may not go away over time, a Cobalamin deficiency (Vitamin B deficiency) which may require injections for life, and GI/intestine sensitivity which may require medication and a veterinary diet for life.
“We are looking for a compassionate adopter who is willing to demonstrate true love to a dog that did nothing to deserve the struggles she is currently living with,” stated Barnes. “She is a wonderful puppy and we want her to get the happy ending her sisters experienced. Her illnesses may or may not go away but for now, the ideal family should be comfortable providing her daily medication and a special diet. Other than that, she is a loving, happy girl ready to take on the world.”
Rolanda is currently available for adoption. As with all of our orphan pets, we simply ask that Rolanda receives as much love and affection as the adopter can provide. For more information or to adopt Rolanda, please contact the Adoptions Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 1, visit www.animalcenter.org or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.
About Helen Woodward Animal Center
Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the international Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday® campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information go to: www.animalcenter.org.