Bringing Hope to Dogs in Charleston
On Wednesday, June 29th, HAS volunteer Sarah Thomas, a vet tech, wildlife rehabilitator, and activist, and I set out to locate three horses in Grenada County, Miss., reported to be starving. On our way, I got a call from my buddy Kevin Hodges, an animal control officer, water-meter reader, and part-time law enforcer for Charleston, Miss., only an hour from us, asking for help with six dogs also reported to be starving. Kevin knows he can count on our support and guardianship of animals we seize.
We located the first property where the horses were, but a privacy fence prevented “plain view” and an uncooperative sheriff meant the groundwork would have to be laid before there would be intervention. I called Kevin to tell him that we were on our way to meet him. At 704 East Chestnut Street, Charleston resident Sherri White showed us six chained and horribly neglected dogs. She claimed two to be hers and four to be those of her boyfriend’s relative.
After a visit to the police department, we prepared a seizure order, and crossed the street for Municipal Court Judge Steve Ross to sign. We returned, warrant in hand, and documented the heart-wrenching plight of the dogs and removed them. White protested the taking of her dogs and informed us the other “owner” refused to come when she called him. The chief and a fellow officer arrived to insure a smooth operation.
We immediately took off for Veterinary Associates, HAS’s vet clinic, to settle the dogs in and supervise as they dove into the nourishment they’d long been denied. White had stated she fed her dogs, but only fed the others if she had extra food. One of her dogs was as emaciated as the boyfriend’s relative’s dog to whom she was chained. I listened in amazement as she told us she wouldn’t interfere when the other dog jumped her dog and would bite going for the morsel of food she gave her own dog.
The extraordinary density and inhumanity of seemingly conscious people is beyond my grasp. The gross neglect of the dogs has been recorded, they’ve been secured in a private kennel, and I’ll be filing criminal affidavits after meeting with the city attorney. Why can’t all community leaders have it so together like Charleston’s?