Cats & Dogs Freed From Chaining Horror
In September of 2014, our Hope Animal Sanctuary team investigated a severe and strange case of animal hoarding. What we found still haunts us to this day.
Accompanied by law enforcement officials, our team traveled to an extremely rural area of Attala County, Mississippi, to the home of an elderly woman. On the right side of her home, we found nine dogs who were chained to trees. Some had used barrels for shelter while others had no refuge at all. On the left side of the home, we found 18 chained cats, some of whom were using garbage cans or cardboard boxes for shelter. The chains that held them hostage had become so tangled that the cats could not reach their make-shift shelters. Unable to escape, these terrified animals were forced to huddle together for protection against the rain and it was the only comfort that they experienced.
The elderly woman explained to the law enforcement officials that when she saw dogs or cats in town, she would call out to them. If they approached her, she brought them home, where they would remain chained (and sometimes starved) until they died. When one of the animals died, she would simply pick up another to stake at the end of the newly empty chain. This meant that all of the animals on the property were not strays; they once had families and trusted people.
Although we have been involved in many hoarding cases, the dogs and cats from this case were the most traumatized we had ever seen. It took months of love and care for them to begin to trust again. Although we did an exhaustive search, we were unable to find their guardians. When the rescued animals were finally ready, we started our search for their perfect forever homes.
One of the dogs, a deeply traumatized Sheltie named Lou, was chained in red clay with no shelter from inclement weather or the relentless, burning sun. Carolyn Blakemore, a wonderful foster guardian, agreed to take Lou into her home. It took a lot of work, patience, and love, but in time, Lou began to trust again. Just like people who have experienced a traumatic event, Lou was still suffering from PTSD from the horrific conditions and treatment she had been subjected to. We knew she would need an extraordinary home.
Kathleen Clark and her family had adopted a very timid dog from us the year before. Sierra, who had one leg amputated due to a terrible injury, was extremely withdrawn but had blossomed under Kathleen’s care.
When Kathleen heard Lou’s story, she knew she could not turn her back on this dog who desperately needed her and arranged to bring Lou home.
Today, Sierra and Lou are both happy and well-adjusted dogs. Lou’s Before and After pictures show how much progress she has made. Lou barely resembles the frightened dog we saved long ago on that September day!
As for the elderly woman responsible for this horrific hoarding case, she somehow escaped being charged with any counts of animal cruelty, and she passed away roughly a year after our investigation.
Your support and donations make a tremendous difference in the lives of animals who are suffering. Please donate now so that we can continue to save as many animals as possible just like Lou and Sierra!