By JB Clark
TUPELO – Sixty-five dogs are being treated in a pop-up emergency animal shelter in Tupelo after the Humane Society of the United States rescued the dogs Monday from what were called deplorable conditions.
The national animal rescue group was called when the Tippah County Sheriff’s Office found the dogs living without adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care on a Blue Mountain property.
“They called us after they got a head’s up about the property and knew there were more animals than they could take of themselves,” said Ashley Mauceri, manager of HSUS animal cruelty response.
According to Jennifer Kulina-Lanese, HSUS field responder, the majority of the animals are showing untreated injuries which have led to severe infections, dehydration, starvation, flea anemia and other skin issues caused by parasites.
“You can tell the higher pack animals who were getting food and the smaller ones who were left to fend for themselves,” she said. “You see a lot of fight wounds and can guess they were fighting for food and shelter. A lot of the infections are in the untreated wounds.”
HSUS staff arrived in Tupelo on Saturday to set up an emergency shelter where the dogs could be treated, processed and cared for once they were seized.
In one room of the emergency shelter, a converted office building and warehouse near South Gloster Street, a black labrador mix laid on her side, exhausted and thin, as her seven puppies nursed.
“She is exhausted,” Kulina-Lanese said. “She had to protect those dogs and get enough food and water to have the energy to feed them. It was especially difficult for the nursing mothers.”
Animals was taken in after the Tippah County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant on the property Monday.
The Tippah County Sheriff’s Office reported there were no charges filed against the property owner.
Local veterinarians and volunteers from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society are assisting in nursing the animals back to health.
The dogs have been given shelter, food and water and are being taken, one-by-one, to be treated by a veterinarian and given vaccinations. The dogs will continue to be cared for and volunteers will work with the animals to help re-establish trust in humans before they are put up for adoption.
Joe Murray, of local grassroots organization Animal Rescue of Tippah County, said the situation underlies the need for a local animal shelter to be funded. ARTC was founded in 2012 in response to the stray animal crisis in Tippah County.
The organization said in a news release that a shelter would cost $140,000 annually.
“I am extremely disappointed that our local governments have not stepped up to the plate when it comes to funding ARTC and I am equally upset that both the Humane Society and Tippah County ignored ARTC when trying to fix this problem,” Murray said about previously reaching out for help. “Tippah County should not be a photo-op for outside animal groups.”