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Dakin takes in 20 rescues from Alabama hoarder

Date: 3/21/2011

March 21, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — One might expect dogs that were owned by an animal hoarder to be withdrawn, frightened and have other behavioral problems.

Of the 20 dogs that were seized from a home in Alabama — where 200 dogs were kept — and now at the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society on Union Street, only several seem fearful.

The rest, even a dog believed to be blind, greet this reporter with wagging tails and a desire for human companionship.

Candy Lash, spokesperson for the shelter, explained that Dakin is among the shelters across the country that agreed to help find homes for the dogs.

She said the dogs that were living with the hoarder — who was not prosecuted in exchange for giving the dogs up without contest — were in the best condition. The further away from the hoarder's home, the condition of those dogs worsened.

According to Lash, last week the Humane Society of the United States assisted the Houston County Sheriff's office in Alabama with the seizure of 200 dogs and 31 cats found living in deplorable conditions on a 22-acre property at Dirty Sally's Pet Pals, a non-profit organization that claimed to offer animals for adoption.

To see a video report of the story, go to

The shelter received the dogs on March 13. Five of the dogs are slated to go to a shelter in Lowell. Lash described the dogs as "medium to large size mixed-breed dogs, including Labrador retriever, husky and shepherd mixes. They are very cute and social, which is atypical of most hoarded dogs."

The dogs will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and receive necessary veterinary care as needed.

Marti Edelhart, Dakin's behavioral services manager, said several of the dogs have heartworm and some have skin issues, which she believed could be healed. One has a noticeable ear infection that will be addressed.

The friendliness of the dogs was a surprise, Edelhart said.

"We opened the transport vehicle and we could see wagging tails and soft eyes," she recalled.

Most of the dogs, depending on their physical condition, should be available for adoption by late next week.

Lash explained the dogs have not overwhelmed the shelter's space for dogs to be adopted and will still be accepting local dogs who need a new home.

She asked the public to consider making a donation to the shelter's Buddy Fund, a dedicated resource that pays for the health needs of animals in the shelter.

To learn more about adopting one of these dogs or contributing to the Buddy Fund, log onto or call 781-4000.

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