Friday last week there was a lot of excitement in Monroe when animal advocates from End the Cycle and Unchain Walton solicited the help of Monroe Police Department to help rescue what turned out to be six puppies left under a house on G.W. Carver Street.
The mother had been picked up by Walton County Animal Control the day before and the puppies were left behind. The rescue had been videoed by Darrell Everidge of Darrell Productions.
While everybody was thrilled that the puppies had been rescued, taken to Bold Springs Animal Hospital to be checked out and then taken in by rescue group Pup and Cat Co, there was concern that they were not with their mama. That was rectified on Monday when Pup and Cat Co pulled the mama from Walton County Animal Control and reunited them with six very excited puppies. Everidge added the happy reunion to the end of the rescue video below.
There also were, however, questions as to why Walton County Animal Control had taken in the mother and left the puppies, basically to die. We had to wait until Monday to find that out as Animal Control is closed over the weekend.
Shawn Morris, director at WCAC, said there were some things that obviously should have been done differently, most notably the agent telling the resident that if there was a smell from under the house he could put mothballs under there to mask it. People hearing that were horrified, as was Morris himself.
“I was sure that nobody would have said that, but it turns out my agent did,” Morris admitted, adding that the agent has since been administratively disciplined. “It was definitely bad judgment on his part.”
Morris outline how the situation had come about.
“Basically we had a complaint on a mama dog running around. Every time an officer got up close to it, she got aggressive. In fact, it bit one of my officer’s boot. On Thursday, we had an officer go out there again and he was able to catch the dog. He was meeting with the complainant when the dog came running by and he was able to catch her. The complainant said she had puppies somewhere, that he had seen them chasing her around the yard, but they were not with her at the time. He showed the agent where she would go. It was under the house in a crawl space about one cinderblock tall, so we couldn’t gain access to it.”
Morris said the agent went over to the hole and called for the puppies but couldn’t see or hear them.
“The complainant asked him what if they were there and died, it would start to smell. That was when he did say mothballs could be put under there, but as I said he has been disciplined for that. It was bad judgment in a stressful situation,” Morris said. “I hate it that it happened. In fact, I sent an officer back out there and he couldn’t hear any puppies under the house. Sally Mansour (with ETC Off the Chain), said she also went out that day and she didn’t see or hear them either.”
Mansour confirmed that she had not heard them the first time she went out, but when she went back later, she did hear them. That was when she set about trying to get help in rescuing them.
“I spoke to Shawn Morris. He was very nice, but he basically told me he couldn’t help me,” Mansour said. “He said if I could get the puppies, Animal Control would take them, but he wouldn’t let me bring the mother out to put her under the house to feed the puppies. I said I would put a pen around the opening with food and water, but he said he couldn’t do that. He suggested I contact a wildlife or animal removal company to get them out. I phoned around – I must have tried about eight companies – but couldn’t get anybody.”
Morris said under the County’s liability insurance plan, they are not allowed to go into attics or under houses. “And I couldn’t put the mama dog back there as she had been turned in for being aggressive – and she had already bitten one on my officers. We can’t have a dog running around when she’s aggressive – and the owner said he did not want her back on the property.”
That’s when Mansour, Mona Stephens, and other members of ETC Off the Chain set in motion the rescue that Everidge captured on video. Mansour said the puppies’ gums were white from a flea infestation. They were taken to Dr. Reece at Bold Springs Animal Hospital who cleaned them up and removed the fleas. It was on the advice of Dr. Reece that the puppies were not taken to WCAC. The mother was instead pulled and taken in by Pup and Cat Co. to be reunited with her puppies.
Initially named Maggie May while at WCAC, now renamed Francine, she and all her pups have been given names of well-known television police officers in honor of their rescuers. The two female pups in the litter have been named Cagney and Lacey and the males are Trooper, Cruiser, Chief and Hooch. They will eventually be available for adoption through Pup and Cat Co. Rumor has it that one may end up in the home of one of the MPD officers involved in the rescue.