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Group seeks help after taking in 80 dogs

A Leslie animal rescue group is housing more than 80 dogs picked up from a residence in Van Buren County.

On Aug. 22, April Westling and Stephen Schmidt of the rescue group Loved Me, But Left Me went to a home north of Clinton after being alerted by Van Buren County Animal Control of a hoarding situation, Westling said.

She said they found 114 dogs kept by a single woman with severe health issues. Westling said the dogs were well fed, but were infested with fleas, ticks and internal parasites. None, she said, had been vaccinated and many of the females are pregnant.

Westling said the dogs have some medical problems, such as demodectic mange, and many are in need of minor surgeries for conditions such as cherry eye, tumors and teeth extractions.

She said the owner of the dogs has offered to surrender most of them to the rescue group and in exchange the group has agreed to spay and neuter and get medical care for the rest of her dogs.

Westling said the process is likely to cost at least $10,000 and her group is in need of financial help. Also needed, she said, are loving, responsible people to foster and adopt the dogs. She said some of the dogs, about 30 percent, have had little to no socialization or human attention.

“They are terrified by human touch and will bite if cornered,” Westling said. But with help, she said, they can make wonderful family pets.

Items on Westling’s list of needs include puppy chow, high protein dog chow, Comfortis or Advantage 2 for fleas and ticks, flea and tick shampoo, broad spectrum wormer, dog houses, crates/pet taxis, and cash to help with medical expenses.

Donations can be dropped off at the Van Buren County Animal Control, or contact the rescue and they will pick up items. The rescue group can be reached at lovedmebutleftme@gmail.com or (870) 504-1122 or (870) 504-1108.

The rescue group mainly handles stray, abandoned, or abused animals, and helps regularly with the overflow from the Van Buren County shelter to help them avoid euthanasia, Westling said.

“We do not receive funding, and we rarely ask for contributions, relying solely on small contributions and adoption fees,” Westling said. She said shelters in Boone and Stone counties are helping with the rescue effort.

Loved Me, But Left Me operates from 120 acres in Searcy County. Westling said that since July 2007, the group has placed over 1,000 animals.

Westling notes that 4 million animals per year, or 11,000 per day, are euthanized in the U.S.

“We have the dream that someday, somehow, our groups will be able to go ‘out of business,’ that the shelters, animal control facilities, and pounds nationwide will close their doors, and owners will respect their pets for what they are: living, breathing, feeling creatures created by God.

“Pets,” she said, “are not disposable.”

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