By Joyce Brock
BLUE MOUNTAIN – Last week’s rescue of more than 60 dogs from a Blue Mountain home by the Humane Society of the United States was precisely what family members wanted.
The family said this week they wanted the animals to be taken care of and adopted into homes. However, they did say they are distraught about misconceptions surrounding the situation.
Statements from HSUS said that the dogs were living in deplorable conditions and lacking care. According to rescue workers, many of the animals were underweight, dehydrated, infested with fleas or ticks, or suffering from old untreated injuries. HSUS worked in coordination with Tippah County Sheriff’s Department to remove the animals from the property.
The owner complied with the rescue and does not face any criminal charges.
“We’re proud that the dogs will get good homes,” said family member Wanda Wilson. “It’s the rumors that hurt the most. People are saying that they were running a puppy mill or beating the dogs – that’s just not true.”
The dogs were never intentionally mistreated, according to owner Christine Beaty and her family.
“I’m not a monster, and he’s [her husband] not either,” Christine Beaty recently told WTVA. “We have hearts, and we took care of the animals. We just … did the best we could.”
While there has been much criticism of the number of animals the couple amassed at their home, they say that they didn’t know what else to do.
“It was the only choice. We had to keep them here or throw them out in the road like those other people did them,” Christine said. “We weren’t going to do that. Anybody with a heart wouldn’t do that.”
Wilson, who is Christine’s daughter-in-law, had been searching for help with the situation for more than a year. She had contacted multiple shelters in surrounding counties as well as national rescue organizations. She had emails asking for help that date back more than a year.
In the emails, she repeatedly describes the situation detailing the struggles her mother-in-law was facing with the dogs. “Her yard is fenced in but they keep dropping puppies… she is so far feeding all the dogs, she goes once a week to the day-old bread store and mixes that in with feed… is there any way you guys could take some of the dogs she is willing to give them up…” the emails read.
Unfailingly, the answer was the same. The shelters and rescue organizations did not have the resources to take the animals. She tried to find homes for them on social networks, but says she had little luck since most of the dogs were mixed or unknown breeds.
Wilson told much the same story as her mother-in-law about why the animals were there.
“If someone leaves a box of puppies on your driveway, then what do you do?” she said.
The only shelter they found that would accept the animals, Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, requires a $75 donation to help offset the cost of care and placement. For 60 dogs, that would be $4,500.
Wilson said she witnessed how much effort the Beatys put into trying to care for the dogs. She says that they tried to fence the male and female dogs apart to discourage breeding since they weren’t able to have them spayed and neutered. That wasn’t always effective, though. She also says that every dog had a name – Bright Eyes, Floppy, Suzy, etc. – and the owners spent time outside petting and talking to the animals.
The animals are now in an emergency shelter set up in Tupelo, where they are receiving veterinary care and being prepared for adoption.
Animal Rescue of Tippah County issued a number of press releases following the event, saying that the situation emphasizes the need for a local animal shelter.
“Unfortunately, one rescue attempt is just a small dent in the animal crisis that plagues Tippah County and reinforces the incorrect image it is a backwater place to live,” said ARTC representative Joe Murray.