side of a rural road in Castilian Springs and were found huddled
together for warmth in the January cold.
unfortunately, unwanted pets are abandoned like this all too often in
the Volunteer State, which leads to overpopulated shelters and thousands
of animals being put down, which is why hundreds of dogs like these
eight castaways have to hit the road every month to start a new life.
litter of eight was found in a tub on the side of the road a few weeks
ago just abandoned," said Annelise Henning, vice president of Country
K-9 Rescue in Lebanon.
Luckily, a passerby found them and they were taken to Sumner County Animal Control, but they weren't in the clear.
an adoption program in Sumner County but they're so overwhelmed with
puppies that some puppies will get put down," Henning said.
then, these out of luck octuplets got a helping hand from Companion Pet
Rescue and their transport service called Road Dogs Transport.
they've been rescued and then adopted they're turned over to our
transport and we get them all organized and scheduled to be transported
to their new homes in New England," said Cole Bowen, driver at Road Dogs
Bowen says he collects dogs from overpopulated
Tennessee shelters every week and then drives them northeast where
overpopulation is less of a problem.
"The majority of shelters in New England are no-kill shelters just due to the fact that they re not overwhelmed," Bowen said.
estimates he transports 250 pups to rescues and adoptive families in
the northeast every month. And this time, the eight roadside castaways
are joining dozens of others on the road trip of a lifetime.
It's a journey that takes them to Virginia, then West Virginia, and Maryland…
on to Pennsylvania," Bowen said. "To New Jersey, New York, Connecticut
and then Massachusetts. It's around 1,300, 1,400 miles one way so
you're looking at 2,600, 2,700 miles round trip.
cross-country journey continues, it s important to note that these
animals really are the lucky ones because countless others never receive
this kind of help. And at the state capitol, Humane Society officials
are trying to treat the root of the problem.
that over 100,000 dogs and cats that are healthy and adoptable are
euthanized in Tennessee every year," said Leighann McCollum, director of
the Tennessee branch of the Humane Society.
overpopulation is a direct result of poor spay and neuter practices, and
is lobbying to encourage the state government to have more oversight.
Tennessee does not mandate animal control, as far as the state,"
McCollum said. "That means they don't require counties to have animal
control services so 1/3 or more of our counties that don't offer any
government-funded animal services to their community."
the responsibility falls to individual shelters. Tennessee law says
unsterilized cats and dogs may be adopted if the owners leave a minimum
$25 deposit and promise to spay or neuter the animal within 30 days.
But if the owners fail to meet the requirement they simply forfeit the
deposit and it's up to individual shelters to request return of the dog
"And unfortunately there's just no enforcement to follow up on that," McCollum said.
the other hand, 18 states have ordinances that slap owners who fail to
meet the required deadline with misdemeanors, fines or civil action,
Island has some of the strictest spay and neuter laws, where if
deadlines aren't met the owners and shelters both face fines. The
shelter can reclaim the animal and the shelter s license can even be
Bowen says in his many visits to the northeast, he s seen a clear difference.
spay and neuter laws in New England have worked," Bowen said. "Their
animal shelters don't have near the amount of dogs in them that ours
And says unless spay/neuter practices change in Tennessee, the cross-country trips will never end.
like to say that we're helping but in terms of the amount of dogs that
we are able to rescue, the number actually getting smaller but it's
not," Bowen said. "Believe it or not, the four plus years I've been
doing this it's not slowed down it's actually picked up."
there's light at the end of the tunnel for the traveling pals in his
trailer. For some, the trip ends in the waiting arms of loving families
in Southington, Connecticut.
And as for the eight roadside pups,
they were taken in by Great Dog Rescue in Boston, where they received
the star treatment at luxury boarding facilities Fenway Bark and Urban
Hound while waiting to move in with their adopted families.
of the best parts of the job is to actually see the appreciation and the
gratitude and just the happy smiling faces sometimes crying faces when
we hand these puppies over to their new owners," Bowen said.
For now, Bowen is heading home...but only long enough to get some rest and do it all again next week.
Road Dogs charges a transport fee of $135 dollars per animal.
Humane Society says they're planning to push for a 50-cent increase in
the cost of rabies vaccinations, which are mandatory. Humane society
officials say that money could create more than $1 Million in grants to
help lower income families pay for the procedure.
Monday, February 20 2012, 10:52 PM CST
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