Abandoned animals – are we doing our best to save them?

Vicksburg and Warren County have several organizations dedicated to rounding up stray, mistreated or abandoned animals. These include (to the writer’s knowledge) the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society, the Vicksburg Animal Shelter, and Southern Paws Rescue. In addition to the organizations within the borders of our county, there are hundreds of “rescue” groups spread out all across the country, each of which is dedicated to saving the castoffs of some specific breed.

There is no doubt that the members of each of the shelter and rescue groups within our county are dedicated to the well-being of the unfortunate creatures entrusted to their care. But, call it territorial protection, a power struggle, jealousy, stubbornness, or whatever, these groups seldom cooperate with each other, with the result that some animals that may have been adopted to good homes end up being euthanized.

 There has been one post in Vicksburg Speaks regarding the Vicksburg Animal Shelter (City Pound) (Vicksburg’s City Pound – Death Row?) wherein the argument was made that the shelter has no adoption policy, no spay/neuter program, and fails to communicate with local rescue groups. In another unfortunate state of affairs, the Humane Society apparently refuses to cooperate with Southern Paws Rescue in their efforts to locate and transport eligible dogs and cats to good homes and rescue groups across the country. More could be said regarding the failure of communication and cooperation among the local groups, but more accusations would only inflame the situation. The welfare of the animals must be the primary consideration of all of us, and their health and welfare will be best served by mutual respect, communication, and cooperation among all of us who treasure these neglected and abused innocents. 

Published in: on August 28, 2007 at 12:11 am  Comments (37)  

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  1. I am a pet owner and have rescued many many animals in the last few years, mainly cats. Animal Control, who should only be called as a last resort, delighted in telling me once that “if your cat goes into another yard, I’ll take it, even though it has a collar” and another time told me that they “rounded up about 50 cats in a neighborhood”, some, no doubt, were cats that HAD homes. That these poor kitties, more than likely, met their deaths, just makes me sick, and the one particular man who said these things should NOT be working in this job.
    Paws Rescue has helped me out tremendously, lately, but I am sorry that there is this rivalry amongst the animal advocacy groups. We should all work together to make sure that the animal population is cared for in Vicksburg. Shoot, I like the animals a lot more than some of the people in my neighborhood!! All animals want is food, water, and a safe place to sleep, something that I am more than happy to provide!!
    I hope that all of the problems can be worked out, for the greater good. A sweet kitty or pup doesn’t care who helps it, and everyone should remember that no one should be keeping score. Just do what is right, and the rest will fall into place.

  2. As someone who has been actively involved in animal rescue for many years, I can tell you that most animal rescue organizations DO work together. Considering the overwhelming numbers of animals in need, primarily due to the general public not spaying and neutering their animals, and not taking responsibility for the results, and considering that rescues are “staffed” solely by volunteers (very very few have any paid staff), it is a daunting task, but we do manage to save hundreds of thousands of animals in this country.

    The “Pound”, however, is not an animal “shelter” nor a “rescue”. The pound is an animal control facility, and it has only been through many years of very hard work that some (some) animal controls have begun to work with rescues, for the welfare of the animals.

    It is the local rescues in the immediate area of the Animal Control facility who pull (get the animal) from the facility, provide immediate housing and vet care, and arrange for transportation to a more permanent situation for the animal. The entire process goes nowhere if the Animal Control facility refuses to release animals to the rescues.

    All over this country, there are networks of animal rescues, who work together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some specialize in particular breeds, others do not. We network to rescue, provide vet care for, find homes for, and transport animals all across this country. Never, even when we may personally disagree with some specifics of each others’ particulars, NEVER do we allow our differences to cost the life of an animal. That is a very unfair and uninformed statement that “tricia” made.

    If you want to effect a positive change in this area, try addressing the root of the problem, where the process starts. The would be an local Animal Control facility who refuses to allow rescues to get animals from them.

  3. I can say that the Southern Paws Rescue has done an AWESOME job in saving animals and finding them homes.

    They make sure the animals are vetted before they are adopted out to a home. They also check with the adopters to make sure the dog is taken care of properly.

    The Animal Shelters should be thankful to have a group of rescues to work with.

    God created the animals and we are to do everything we can to help save them. Euthanizing is not the answer and it says so in the bible. Open up the bible and read God’s words about it. Remember, everyone will have to answer for their own actions when their judgement day comes.

    I would like to see peace in the rescue/animal shelter world. Let’s all just work together and do what we can. We shall be working together in helping every animals on this earth.

    I thank every rescuers for all they do in helping the animals and I thank every animal control officers for taking the efforts in doing everything they possibly can to save the animals as well.

    Put the rivals aside and think about the animals. Get them to their new homes or rescue where they will be SAFE! Love and HELP is out there!!!! Give them another chance!!!!! Stop Euthanizing and start working with the rescues.

    God Bless….

  4. Having founded a very successful rescue in Arkansas I can speak with intimate knowledge of what a great experience it is to work with Southern Paws in saving animals that might otherwise not have a chance. As Patty said animal rescues work extremely well together because at the end of it all we all know WHAT we are doing and WHY we are doing it. Unfortunately a shelter cannot make this claim by the very fact that they DO euthanize unadopted animals – which I am not saying is wrong – just counter to the way rescues work. Yes, rescues normally have the luxury of being able to hold animals long enough to be able to find them a great home where shelters do not. But it is because of this difference that I believe that the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society is heading for disaster in trying to take on the role of rescue rather than doing all that they can to do to be the very best caretaker that these animals can have – a role that will be the last that many of these animals will ever see! It is ludicrous that a humane society that has had so much success in saving animals through a dedicated, caring rescue like Southern Paws and the extensive network that they have developed would suddenly decide that they just aren’t getting the “recognition” they want and choose to try and facilitate this themselves. Are the people that work at this shelter going to get up at 5 a.m. to meet a transport to get a dog or cat on the way to safety? Are they going to leave that facility at closing time and spend another 3, 4, 5 hours making sure that an animal reaches the beginning of a transport? Are they going to go the extra mile on their own time to be sure that medical care is given over and above the “routine? I don’t think so – these people are paid for their “regular” hours – and I certainly can’t think of any animal control facility who has unlimited funds to authorize overtime every time a worker has to work a transport! This is what rescues do, people!!!! We do it for no other reason than our deep love and compassion for these precious throw aways that no one else is stepping up to help or even care if they get helped. We work 7 days a week, unlimited numbers of hours a day organizing transports (most of us while working full time “real” jobs as well), making sure that the animals get TO the transport, networking with other rescues to find places for these unwanted animals to go, developing relationships with people all over the US who feel just as we do. Without the support of rescues the VWHS is going to end up floundering in a sea of “what do we do now?” and “why doesn’t anyone want to work with us?” and – worst of all – just plain costing deserving animals their lives because of their stubborn refusal to look past the end of their own egos to see that it isn’t about THEM, it isn’t about their NUMBERS, it is about saving lives. PLEASE – WAKE UP AND UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CANNOT DO THIS YOURSELVES WITHOUT A LOT OF INPUT FROM A LOT OF RESCUES!

    I can tell you myself from recent experience that I received a dog from VWHS under their “new” policy and the state of this dog was absolutely appalling – a situation that NEVER would have happened had Southern Paws been allowed to just pull this dog and get it ready for transport!!! The poor girl had a HORRIBLE urinary tract infection and extremely bad bilateral ear infections. This little girl had been sitting in that shelter for over a month with no medical care at all simply because of the stubborn refusal to allow Southern Paws to go ahead and pull her and get her PROPERLY vetted! Is this humane? Is this what it is going to cost the animals for VWHS to “be a rescue”? If this “society” would put as much effort into caring for the animals that need so much help instead of worrying about what very well established rescues who have been working with this facility for many years are “doing with the animals” and spend that time and money caring for the animals they have everyone would win! Your “glory” would come in being one of the best facilities around and then you WOULD have rescues knocking to help save your animals. But they are NOT going to knock just because you want to “be a rescue”. We have all had the experience of trying to pull a dog directly from a shelter without another local rescue to help facilitate and I can tell you it is not an experience many of us would want to repeat.

    So please – for the sake of the animals we are begging you to rethink this ridiculous notion of trying to be a rescue rather than a place that these animals can find the immediate care that they need and a safe haven on their way to a better life.

  5. Well, Patty, I was just stating my opinion, which is what this forum is all about, isn’t it? And I have talked to many people, and I KNOW that there are many many animals who do NOT find homes, who are NOT helped by anyone, and I did not make this statement lightly, NOR did I make it to be “unfair”. It’s the truth, and if there is enough “smoke” to merit the “fire” of the original post, well then…..Making personal attacks on someone who is trying to help is one of the problems, don’t you think? I am doing all I can to help. That’s all I can do. And if everyone else is doing it,then there shouldn’t be a problem. The animals are my first concern, not the personalities involved. And I am someone who has lived in Vicksburg for fifty plus years, I was born here, raised here, raised my kids here, and will die here. I think I have the right to state my opinion.
    That being said, Animal Control is NOT the answer, yet that is the first place uninformed people call when there is a cat bothering them, or a dog is loose. Yes, if there is a dangerous dog, okay, I can agree with that because NO ONE needs to risk any injury trying to catch it, but most of the time, the A.C. people just catch them, and then they are in the death mobile to Jackson to be destroyed. That same guy I mentioned in my post told me that they were going to Jackson to be “adopted”, I just looked and him and he knew I had his number.
    So, the personal attack aside, this is a good forum to discuss and possibly find some solutions, some temporary, some maybe more permanent. As I said, Paws Rescue has been a godsend to me. At the moment, I am feeding 5 Paws Rescue animals, 4 Mississippi Spay/Neuter animals, plus my own, several of which are strays that wandered up,all “fixed” by me, with no discount or help. I am not saying that to “brag”, just stating a fact, because sometimes it was very hard coming up with the money to get it done. But we managed. I love the animals and will help all I can. I will continue to do so, as long as I am able. So, I think I am “fair”. I do put my money where my mouth is, I want what is best for the animals of Warren County, that is all. NO ONE should get their back up over comments and suggestions. Life is way too short for that. Just do it, discuss what else needs to be done, and then do it again. Have a great Tuesday.

  6. Uh, Patty, I just went back and reread my original post twice, and I honestly don’t see what “unfair” comment I made. I believe it was in the original post, and I have no idea who wrote that. I’m just sayin…..
    I don’t want to be accused of something that I didn’t do.

  7. I am one of the folks in the network Southern Paws has developed. I am a transport coordinator. I have arranged for transport from Vicksburg to places as far away as Phoenix, AZ; Tampa, FL; Scranton, PA…to name a few. I happen to live in NY, and I specialize in special needs (deaf or blind) dogs, but the dogs in the Vicksburg shelter are ALL special needs. They are on death row but have committed no crimes.

    Most of the animal control people I work with, and I work with them all over the country, have a horrible job and hate having to put dogs down. It is a fact of rescue work that most dogs do NOT make it out of shelters and to safe havens. But to make it even harder for them to get out is unconscionable. Every dog saved is a victory. Every dog lost is a defeat.

    There is an old saying among Rescue workers. If you don’t think saving only one dog matters…….ask the dog.

  8. Our rescue has worked with Southern Paws for several years now to place dogs in forever homes. Sometimes, it’s not possible to place a dog locally and when several groups work in harmony, a lot can be accomplished. Our area has a “pound” that will not work with rescue groups to place animals. This type of non cooperation concerning the welfare of animals has always been a mystery to those of us who spend our own money and endless time and effort to help these places. After all, aren’t we all working for the same result, less stray and homeless animals, controling animal overpopulation and finding forever homes for neglected, abused or abandoned animals? Why should any shelter, animal control or pound be at cross purposes with rescue groups? Our goal is helping, not harming?

  9. I have personal experience with Southern Paws Rescues extraordinary efforts to save the life of an animal who has found itself in the unfortunate circumstance of being in an animal shelter whether the pound or the Humane Society. Southern Paws has one focus—the welfare of the animal in need. The beautiful loving dog who shares our bed is only alive and blessing our lives because of Southern Paws tremendous rescue contacts. Our dog was dumped in the Vicksburg Humane Society before Christmas. In spite of the Shelter’s employees effort to save and rehome this poor dog, he was in the process of dying when Southern Paws sent his picture out to their purebreed rescue contacts. The purebreed rescue organizations sent his picture to there contacts which is how I first looked at his frightened face staring out bewildered through the bars of his new prison. Poor boy went from his loving home to a small concrete run. The Shelter staff has attempted to get him to eat even offering canned food when he wouldn’t eat the dry. They took him to a vet more than once. But, his particular problems were breed specific and not regognized by the staff or vet. I drove from Tupelo to pick him up and they readily released him to CSP rescue. He weighed 39 pounds. I had him at the vet Monday morning and had blood drawn. He had a raging infections and everything from elevated liver enzymes to elevated potassium was revealed. After weeks of vet care and consultation with CSP Club of America’s official vet—we were able to save him. He has a condition only found in shar pei. He has Familial Sharpei Fever (FSF) and Swollen Hock Syndrome (SHS) which was triggered by the stress of being abandoned in the shelter. He weighs 75 pounds now and his fevers are controlled. He is a happy dog who loves everyone he meets. But he would have been dead within the week had he stayed in the shelter.

    Southern Paws was also instrumental in their extensive networking to save another shar pei in this shelter. They saved a doberman and got him into that breed’s rescue. They are helping me now with placing a pure breed Lab rescue currently in private foster.

    Vicksburg is so blessed to have Southern Paws willing to work without reimbursement to save animals discarded by humans. They have proven their mission and integrity. Both Vicksburg Humane Society and Vicksburg Animal Control should use their resources to assist in finding safe homes for these unwanted animals. Pure breed rescue groups across the country work together and can save many dogs that otherwise would have perished in the shelters. Most pure breed dogs have breed specific problems better handled by people experienced with that particular breed. The staff at Vicksburg Humane Society cared about the dog we adopted. They did everything they could to save him. But, it would not have been enough had they refused to cooperate with the CSP breed rescue groups.

    I am not a Vicksburg resident, but I know the work Southern Paws does to save animals. I urge the 2 animal shelters to allow Southern Paws help them save these precious creatures entrusted to our care by the Almighty.

  10. In late July, our rescue (Mid-Atlantic Chinese Shar Pei Rescue Operation) was contacted by a person in Mississippi asking for our help. She sent us a picture of a Shar Pei in Vicksburg, Mississippi that was in the Vicksburg-Warren shelter. When we get these pleas it is because a rescue in that area is overwhelmed with dogs and can’t take “one more dog”. That was not the case here. When I contacted her and said that we possibly could take the dog (even though we are in the Washington, DC area) she was thrilled. As per my usual process I contacted the shelter and left a message. It was late on a Friday night so expected a call on Monday morning bright and early. Normally shelters don’t hesitate to call us back since we offer to help out if we could. I did not receive a call on Monday morning, so I called again. I spoke with a kennel worker and explained who I was and that I wanted to help the Pei. She was not rude, but was not very responsive to my offer of help. During the conversation, she told me that the shelter only released to rescues that are affiliated with the AKC. Well, it just so happens that we are affiliated and I told her so. After many calls and conversations and with the help of the local rescue, we made arrangements for a person to go pick up the dog and put her into a local animal hospital to get her checked out and boarded until I could transport her.
    All this sounds wonderful, right? Well, the only way I found out about the dog was by being contacted by a local rescue in Vicksburg. I asked them why they couldn’t pull the dog and was told that the shelter would not release dogs to them. I was also told that the shelter does not release mixed breed dogs to rescue organizations AT ALL. This in unbelievable! If this is indeed true then is the shelter putting these dogs down?
    So, the purpose of my writing this is so that someone will investigate this situation and determine if this shelter is operating in this manner. Are they adopting out all the dogs to private individuals since they are not releasing to rescues? Are they killing those left behind when legitimate rescues are willing to take the dogs? As a rescuer this is heartbreaking and so upsetting. The local rescues cannot do anything at all. The shelter will not release dogs to them for whatever reason. If this is true then it is truly an UNACCEPTABLE situation. Please do the right thing and determine if this shelter is truly doing business in this manner.

  11. I have been doing rescue work for many years now and I have to say that the hard work that has been done by Debbie is truly OUTSTANDING….

    What everyone needs to remeber is we are here for the animals and all the power struggle and politics needs to stay out of RESCUE.

    What they don’t understand is the work we put into these animals on OUR OWN TIME. We take money out of our own pockets to buy food, get them vetted and the hours and hours we spend getting these animals to trust and love again. I have been on the road going 15-20 hrs just to get animals and to know they are going to be safe. That is who we are. To stop us from doing what we love to do is pure STUPID. We are taking animals out of the shelters, ect to lighten the load and to keep them alive. GROW UP. Have a heart and stop bulling rescue and the people who do so much for these lost little ones. For god sake find your heart again, where ever you may have lost it. Find it, its really needed.

  12. The discussion of animals can be a very emotional topic for those of us who care and are concerned deeply about their plight. It takes many people working together to save one cat or one dog. The rescue network is huge, with many wonderful people who are devoted to helping those unfortunate animals that end up in kill facilities by no choice of their own.

    The shelter workers have the undaunting task of cleaning and caring for many animals on a daily basis and they are the ones that walk the green mile every week to the euthanisia room. It is not easy to do, but unfortunately, a necessity.

    Many rescues have stepped in to help some of the animals at our local shelter through efforts made by Southern Paws Rescue. Those animals have received the medical care needed, spayed/neutered and placed in screened, approved homes.

    Rescues do not make one dime off of any of the adoptions. Normally the vet care cost far exceeds the adoption fee. One blind poodle we had in our rescue had vet care and special eye surgery at the cost of $3000.00. The adoption fee was $250.00. We worked to raise the extra money for such an enormous expense and will do it again if the need arises. This is what rescue is about. Ordinarily, rescues cannot afford to spend that kind of money for one dog, but this was a special case and a very special dog named Sam, loved by everyone who met him.

    We all must stay focused on the issue at hand and that is the animals. They have no choice in the matter. There are only 3 ways out of a shelter: Adoption, Rescue or Euthanasia.

    For the sake of the animals, we need to do the very best we can to help them. This should not be about one organization being better than the other or one having more power or control. Each organization has a purpose and when you combine rescues “and” shelters working together, it is a win/win situation for some of the animals—a second chance. It takes team effort on both sides.

    I have seen the cruel injustices done to animals and I love the spirit of a dog!! Many have come to us very sick, broken and down, but with time and loving care that spirit awakens. That is what keeps rescue people going!

    Working together for a common goal for the animals is what this should be about, nothing more and nothing less. We are helping the helpless.

  13. I just posted my comment earlier about pulling a Shar Pei from the Vicksburg-Warren shelter. Initially I was told they could help me with transport and then later was told then could not help with transport. If it had not been for Southern Paws making all the contacts (picking up the dog from the kennel to arranging the contact with the transport) I would not have my Lan Mai now. I personally adopted this dog. She is a sweetheart.

  14. As an independent rescuer and volunteer at a city pound that most people aren’t aware exists, I’d like to commend every person who makes ANY effort on behalf of the animals.

    I’ve had the heart wrenching experiences of finding animals in such horrible conditions (in the pound) that made death a merciful blessing, but I’ve also had the pleasure of helping unwanted animals find loving homes. Some of these positive experiences—they’re a lot fewer than the negative ones—involved transporting dogs to a better life on behalf of Southern Paws Rescue.

    None of us have extra money to do this. We’re not funded by grants or generous donations. We’re “fueled” by our hearts. We have to continually remind ourselves that we can’t save ’em all. Each success is what helps us to keep on keeping on. Rescue is not easy. Rescue is physically, financially, and emotionally draining. It is not usually something we set out to do. It starts with one innocent face, one sad story, one request of help…and snowballs from there. Once people actually see the reality of so many unwanted, unloved, abused, neglected animals…it’s very difficult to not want to help. We get to the point that pride takes a back seat when we’re begging for help. Whatever it takes, we’re willing to try.

    For everyone who wants to say, “It’s just a dog/cat/horse/bird/rabbit/etc”, take the time to visit your local pound or shelter. Listen to the whines, barks, cries, whimpers, chattering teeth, or (worse) fearful silence. Look into eyes that are either so wide the whites are showing or squeezed tight with fear. Watch the uncontrollable trembling, panting, and even urinating that come from confusion and fear of the unknown.

    Obviously, I could keep going but my point is this:
    Why would a City Pound/Humane Society not take advantage of the offers made by other rescuers? Any money lost is on the rescuer. Most effort put forth is on the rescuer. It’s definitely a win/win situation for the Pound/HS and the animals in need.

  15. How did this drama get started? I’ve had good experiences with all those in Vicksburg and Warren County involved with rescuing animals. Let’s get back the business of saving God’s creatures.

  16. As someone who has worked in dog rescue for several years, I would like to say that it is absolutely imperative for the Vicksburg Animal Control center to work with rescue groups in order to save the lives of as many animals as possible. I volunteer with 2 breed-specific rescues, SharPei (NASPR) and Cairn Terrier (Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network). I am also on the local Louisiana DogCat Rescue list. We post for help to save or transport an animal or to respond to those requests. Southern Paws has helped us SO MANY times to save an unwanted dog, to find it a good forever home, to get it the vet care it so badly needs. The thing is, we can’t save these dogs (and cats) in need if the shelter refuses to release the animal to rescue. Shelters are government run and funded. They don’t have enough money or people to properly care for all the animals they do get in, they don’t have the money or resources to provided needed medical care for animals that come in sick or injured, or fall ill while there. Rescues WANT to help these animals. We can only do that if the shelters will let rescues pull dogs or cats from the shelter. Southern Paws has done such a wonderful job for many years. Please, don’t make the animals suffer by refusing to give them a chance for life. Let rescues pull the animals, vet them, and find new and loving homes for them. We are all volunteers, not paid for our work. We do this because WE LOVE ANIMALS. Please, let us help them!

    Patti Medina

  17. Camille, my precious little canine love, is now a bright light in my life, flourishing, playful and happy. But, she wasn’t that just less than nine months ago. Southern Paws Rescue saved her from certain death at VWHS. She went to VWHS with a dislocated leg, eye infection, malnurished and missing half her hair. Guessed to be around a ten year old little 10 lb Malti-Poo, she was going to be put to death. Southern Paws got her the medical attention she needed, cleaned her up and posted her picture on Petfinder.com, where I first saw her from my home in Foley, Alabama. I made the trek to Vicksburg to retrieve her and it’s because of Southern Paws Rescue that Camille got this opportunity to heal and be loved and enjoy her remaining years in a home where she is cherished. After the initial care SPR gave her, all she needed was nutrition and love from me. She gives me more joy than I can express. So, it greatly saddens me so to think how many more “Camilles” could be going to their death without such an opportunity to be helped. Everyone involved in the lives of these dogs needs to be big enough to do the right thing by the animals, who have no choices here. I, and Camille, thank Southern Paws Rescue for all they do. All they want to do is help the animals and I commend them. But, most of all I wish for them to be able to continue their heartfelt work.

  18. I live in Vicksburg and am and have been actively involved in all phases of rescue all of my life and have been a Board Member of the Vicksburg Warren Humane Society after it was first organized and again three years ago. There was always first and foremost one thought in my mind…to care for and to save animals. It was never about who did what in all my years. It was just about saving lives and that is what it should be about now.

    We have two fine local rescues groups here, Southern Paws Rescue and Paws Rescue, who do an excellent job of finding homes for dogs and cats. Southern Paws Rescue also transports them to all breed rescues across the country. Why is it that the Humane Society now cannot cooperate with one or both of these rescues? Money? Control? What can possibly be so important that they would rather euthanize animals than turn them over to rescues who can get them placed in homes?

    For a while, the Humane Society had a wonderful working relationship with Southern Paws Rescue and many dogs were saved and great homes were found. Some dogs were transported out of state to breed rescues. The great thing about breed rescues is they place dogs all over the country and are not restricted to just one area like our local Humane Society is. There just aren’t enough homes locally for all the animals that are turned in to them on a daily basis.

    It is not cost effective to house animals for a long period of time waiting on homes that aren’t going to come. After they have been there, caged and frustrated for weeks on end, they are doomed to euthanasia. And what about the lack of health care that some of them are not getting while they are waiting for someone to adopt them….that someone who may never come? The Humane Society does not have ample funds to treat all medical problems. This is reality.

    Any caring person, and I would think the President and Board of Directors of the Humane Society, would be glad to have help from rescuers who get animals out, have them checked by a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, heartworm checked and treated if positive, vaccinated and wormed at their own expense. If they find homes for them, they take applications, do home checks, check references, do veterinarian checks, and make sure they have fenced in yards. Once the animal is placed, they follow up to make sure the pet is doing well and if the people are pleased with it.

    If someone goes to the Humane Society, they walk in, pick out an animal, fill out a form, pay the fee and walk out with the pet with a voucher to have the pet spayed/neutered. No one checks references or finds out if they even have a fenced yard and no one follows up to find out how the pet is or if they have it spayed/neutered if it is under age at the time of adoption. The Humane Society does not have the luxury of funds to do what breed rescues and volunteers can do. This is another reality.

    If the local rescues here cannot find homes in the surrounding area , which covers much more than Warren County, they take their own time and gas to transport them to breed rescues to be fostered until homes can be found for them. These breed rescues, many times, even take in mixed breeds, not just purebreds. These are lives that can be saved and not put to sleep. They are not kept in cages, but in people’s homes and yards who love and care for animals….they are foster homes and they stay there until a permanent home is found.

    As a member of the Humane Society, I want to know why they won’t work with these rescues? No matter what the reason is, it is not good enough to cause an animal to lose the chance at life rather than being put to death. If the current President and Board of Directors do not have the first and foremost thought in their minds…to care for and to save animals…then perhaps they should consider stepping down.

  19. As a member of the VWHS it disheartens me to know that a mixed breed dogs life is not as important as a pure breed dog. These dogs deserve the same opportunity to be saved by rescue.

    Even though I don’t leave in the Vicksburg area I’m stilling a paying member. I also volunteer my time and personal gas money to transport dogs for Southern Paws. When it is time for me to renew my membership to the VWHS I will have to carefully conceder whether to continue to support a shelter that doesn’t threat all animals equally.

    It is my hopes and wished that the Vicksburg community and board demand changes. These animals deserve it!!!!

  20. I don’t even know where to start with this and could write pages and pages- It is unfortunate regardless of what the cause is why the shelter will not work with rescues specifically Southern Paws- I don’t know if it is a power struggle thing going on, a mis-understanding that has just escalated , a board or staff members or whomever that just doesn’t care if the animals are helped by getting them into a “good” rescue, taken care of while at the shelter or even saved from death if there is a chance that they can be . In my opinion any of these reasons a POOR and unacceptable !!! The ones suffering and losing the battle are the animals which I thought that is what we were all trying to do was help them !!!?? I have worked with Southern Paws for at least 3 years. Before dogs were sent to this rescue I actually did a vet check and a visit to the shoppe where the animals are kept. The vets could not give the rescue enough praise, the shoppe was perfect !! Good rescues are not in it for the money,if anything they are in the red majority of the time. Medical care is not cheap and most rescue dogs have some type of medical problem where they need help .
    I totally agree with what Debbie Brattan has said. Everyone needs to work together !! The public needs to be educated on having a pet spayed or neutered . We have become a society of not caring, what we don’t want or need or have time for , we throw it away. I cannot tell you how many times I have said to people how sad God must be looking down at use and what is happening, I know it makes me sad .
    I had worked with the local shelter now for about 4 years. They themselves checked out Southern Paws Rescue because there are many in MS , rescues, that are not good, and they too have the highest praise for Southern Paws. You want a dog to go to the best possible rescue for care and placement because you never want to see this animal back in a situation that it has been in before or at a shelter again.
    At times the shelter here call me and ask me to specially call Southern Paws to see if they will please take a dog that is high heartworm positive or has severe mange or whatever and they always have.
    I too have seen dogs pulled from the shelter in Vicksburg and the condition of the animals was sickening . I know they are under-staffed and under paid and the work is hard . The shelter here for 6 months has been over capacity daily and they can hold over 200 animals !!!! They are lucky if they have 6 people daily to care for all of those poor souls but I can say this, animals are bathed, treated for allergies, mange, infections, nails cut in needed, they are walked, given love and attention and it is RARE to ever find urine or stool in a run and NEVER have I heard any of them complain !!
    I am hoping whatever needs to be done can be done quickly to resolve this problem- Animals are suffering and dying while we the human race, the smart ones, are being stupid.

  21. Having read all the comments that are 100% against the policy that VWHS has adopted I sincerely hope that the board members and the head of this “lynch mob” – yes, I said lynch mob which is exactly what it is to the animals who are losing their lives because of this organizations stubborn refusal to put the welfare of these animals at the top of the list – has read these posts and that there is at least ONE compassionate person on this board who is willing to rethink this ridiculous policy. I also notice that if any single board member has even read this that not a single one of them has stepped up to say one word. Please, ladies and gentlemen of the board, consider the acts of murder that are being committed in the name of “I want to be the best!” and shutting out the very people who already know how to do this! It just simply is not necessary to try to reinvent the mousetrap!!!

  22. It is unfortunate that everything has turned out the way it has, but it is not fair to put all the blame on VWHS. Until you have been there, worked there, had to put an animal to sleep that you’ve grown quite fond of (just because nobody wants it), none of you people have any right to talk bad about the Humane Society. Yes, Southern Paws (namely Debbie Freeman) is good at getting animals into rescue, but that does not mean that the staff and board of VWHS are trying to “be the best” or have an ego, as so many of you believe. The split between Southern Paws and VWHS has a lot to do with disagreements on both sides. It is not about ego or who is better. Georgia Lynn has done an amazing job with the Humane Society, and I know for a fact that the staff and board members do everything possible to give the animals the best care possible. Even without Southern Paws’ help, VWHS has recently gotten a Basset Hound, a geriatric Cocker Spaniel, and two Dobermans into rescue, to name a few. They also had a rescue ready to take a heartworm-positive German Shepherd, but he was adopted the same day from a local woman who agreed to treat the heartworms. VWHS is capable of getting animals into rescue, and they have. Sure, sometimes animals stay at the shelter for a while, but I know of a case where a volunteer of Southern Paws (in this case, not Debbie) would not get a dog from VWHS into resuce. The dog was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Southern Paws was supposedly working on the dog for months, apparently sending out hundreds of emails without any luck. This seems odd since Southern Paws has a lot of rescue contacts. Then VWHS was told that rescues don’t take “dogs like that”, though Southern Paws was able to find a rescue practically overnight to take 3 mixes that were involved in the killing of another dog. That Staffie is now in a great home, because the staff at VWHS wouldn’t give up on him like Southern Paws did…
    I’m seriously not trying to smear anyone’s reputation. I just want to give you all some perspective. Southern Paws is good at what it does. VWHS is good at what it does. If the two cannot do their jobs well working together, then they’d be better off working separately.

  23. I’m that volunteer your talking about and before you write something about me or anyone for that matter…It’s my suggestion that you have your facts straight and YOU DON’T!!! You can’t even use your “real name” so when your ready to know the true let me know.

  24. OH my the way if you would like a copy of the many, many emails I sent out asking for help for Rambo just let me know…

  25. It is obvious to me that “anonymous” does not have all of the information straight, which is much like many of VWHS members and staff. I was one of the founding members of VWHS along with Helga Crosswell, Carleen Theobald, Iris King and a few others. I have served on the Board three different times. The difference in the Board then and now is that we were “working” Board members who took care of the animals because we had no shelter for many years. We went out on calls, took animals to the vet, lovingly held them while euthanized when too badly hurt, found homes for the ones we could save and one time, a vet had to walk me through shooting a dog which was in so much pain it could not be moved. Trudy Gunter, Dr. Gunter’s wife and I have been in the median of the highway trying to get a hit by car dog who was attacking us out of fear. So do not talk to others as though they know nothing about taking care of animals! Those of us who have been in rescue and in shelter work and the care of animals our entire lives know more than you will ever forget. The one thing we care about is the ANIMALS…not politics, not power struggles, and certainly not winning battles of words.

    What is really sad, is that the current VWHS Board would turn down experienced people, who have nothing but the welfare of the animals in mind and who are willing to serve on the Board to organize educational programs in schools about spaying and neutering their pets and to stop cruelty to animals, organizing low cost spay/neuter clinics, and helping get dogs into rescue instead of euthanizing them. Instead, they would rather “limit” the amount of Board members and give those positions to a few people who know absolutely nothing about the care of animals in shelter conditions.

    So, if you want to talk about something, then talk about that!

  26. it depends who you are if a rescue group will help you out. i also know there are many other factors going into it also.
    but there is so much animosity between the rescue groups here in vicksburg, they will never work together. to many egos instead of, “for the sake of the dogs”

  27. What is your point, no name?

    Both Paws Rescue and Southern Paws Rescue work their hearts out helping animals seven days a week. What do you do? People have disagreements all the time but that does not stop them from obtaining their goals…to help the animals. Both of these rescues are doing super jobs. Be thankful we have two groups which are so dedicated instead of criticizing them.

    We have three political parties, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. They disagree, but they still all work on making laws. So, what exactly is your point?

    Either of these rescues will help an animal out in need. They may be full at times and can’t take an animal in and their main goals may differ. Do they take animals in that people just want to get rid of? Maybe not, because they are full taking in critical cases that have nowhere else to go or possibly they have reasons you aren’t aware of. But, before you critize either of these rescues, I hope you are doing your part to help.

  28. In reading the posts about animal rescues and shelters, I realized that although I paid to join the VWHS, I know nothing about its history, board membership, regulations regarding volunteers,rescue, or adoption, or mode of operation. It would be very helpful to me as a newcomer and animal lover to understand these aspects of the organization. Also the names of the rescues Southern Paws and Paws—are these two separate groups led by different people? I’m a little confused. Thanks for any info.

  29. Nonner, I will do my best to answer your questions, but they may not be perfect answers.

    Southern Paws Rescue is run by Debbie Lowery who also has a grooming and small animal boarding business. Debbie does Standard Poodle Rescue and small dog rescue. She and her associates also work with animal shelters to transport purebred dogs to breed rescues across the country. She and her associates have recently started helping with the Vicksburg City Pound animals to adopt them out and keep so many of them from automatic euthanasia. Many animals, both cats and dogs, have already been saved with the help of Eldridge Skinner the Manager of City Pound and Mayor Leyens.

    Paws Rescue is run by Leigh Conerly and her associates.
    They take in as many cats and dogs as they can or people will foster and adopt them out to good homes. You may have seen their ad in the Vicksburg Post. They usually run a full page ad of their animals up for adoption about once a month. Her rescue also has a program where they trap and spay/neuter feral cats and release them where people can still put out food for them if they are too wild to be placed in homes.

    Both of these rescues do a great job! Each of them handle different projects which are beneficial to this area. Both organizations operate only by fund raisers, donations and adoption fees. Both organizations make sure animals are fully vetted, spayed/neutered and they inspect homes before animals are placed and do follow up checks to ensure the pet is properly cared for. Both of these organizations put on several pet contest each year for fund raisers and they are constantly preaching spay/neuter your pets and non-cruelty to animals.

    The VWHS is operated by Georgia Lynn and her handpicked Board of Directors. They take in stray animals and kittens and puppies the public doesn’t want and hold them hoping the public will adopt them. They hold a adoptions at the flea markets each year. They are subsidized by the Warren County Board of Supervisors, the Humane Society of the United States, donations and adoption fees. VWHS is responsible for the enforcement of the county ordinance. They are working toward an addition to their antiquated shelter. VWHS has no way to check out adoption applications nor are they able to follow up on homes the animals are placed in. They hold animals as long as they have space for them and then they have to euthanize. The Humane Society here does not offer low cost spay/neuter clinics nor education on non cruelty to animals or spaying and neutering your pets in schools, but Georia Lynn does speak to civic groups as much as possible about these causes. We are in hopes that she will incorporate more educational programs in schools at a later date. Children are the answer to the future.

  30. I wasn’t trying to point blame to any particular person/group in my earlier comment (01/26). I’m sorry if that’s how it came out. I was just trying to give the situation some perspective. Everyone keeps talking about how great Southern Paws is and how horrible VWHS is. Sure, neither one is perfect, but my point was that VWHS doesn’t deserve all the blame. Buttons were pushed on both sides until it reached a breaking point between the rescue groups and VWHS.
    I have the greatest respect for all these groups. VWHS has shown countless times that it is more than capable of getting animal into rescues without necessarily being affiliated with local rescue groups. I know of at least a German Shepherd, two Dobermans, a Basset Hound, and a Cocker Spaniel that were placed into rescues through VWHS without the help of local rescue groups. And Southern Paws has helped so many animals get into rescues and loving homes. I know of at least one mixed-breed dog, off the top of my head, from VWHS that had very little hope of getting adopted due to heartworm status, and Debbie did a wonderful thing and got it into rescue. I don’t know much about Paws Rescue, but I know they do their part too.
    I think the largest problem might be that all of these groups operate differently. I don’t mean that everyone needs to adhere to some single operation means. A shelter must obviously run differently from a rescue group. VWHS cannot refuse an animal. A rescue group must almost certainly refuse animals since they are mostly run through a network of foster homes and are limited by the number of volunteers they have. Everything might work better if all these groups can just meet in the middle somewhere where it involves getting an animal into a home.

  31. Thank you for the explanation, Betty. It is very helpful. I do hope that all of our groups will be able to support and help each other and the animals who need them so much. 🙂

  32. I help them all. I teach dog obedience classes and both rescue groups and Georgia know they can bring any rescue dog to our classes for socialization free of charge as long as they have had their shots and they have no communicable disease.

    Some dogs who come into rescue are very shy or unmanageable and they need socialization with other dogs and/or people. It helps the dogs so much to be able to interact with other dogs and people and learn that everything will be “okay” and that all experiences are not bad.

  33. It sure looks to me like everyone is pointing their fingers at each other instead of helping the animals, which is what should be done in the first place. Everyone is pointing out what “they” do & what the other person don’t do. Get over it & help the animals!! That’s all that matters!!

  34. Jenny, I don’t understand your statement. We are helping animals everyday of our lives in every way we can. We are trying to work with city and county officials to get them to work together in building a bigger and better facility for all the animals and to offer adoption for ALL of the animals. We work with every rescue group who will work with us and we help every animal we possibly can. What else would you have us do and won’t you come help us?

    We can’t make the current President and Board of the Humane Society work with us even though I am a member and a past board member for three different terms. We can’t make them do low cost spay/neuter clinics, nor can we make them do education in schools which is what humane societies are supposed to do for their communities. We have tried every way we can to work with them and to add some very well educated people to their current Board of Directors to accomplish these very things, but were denied the opportunity. Take a look at the Tupelo Humane Society at:
    When you get there, go to “News” at the top and look at the programs and interactions with the communtity that they have. This is what we could be doing here if given the opportunity. Check out their entire site to see what all could be accomplished here.

    If you have any suggestions as to what else we can do to accomplish this and other goals, then we are certainly open to it. We have one thing we work towards…helping animals. If we aren’t doing it physically here, we are meeting with people or we are on our computers working through other rescues to transport and arrange rescues. So, if you can do any better, we welcome your affiliation with our group and can use all of your energy and initiative you are willing to give.

    We need more people who really care about the welfare of animals in this city and county and don’t shove it off on the very few of us who do. So, please come join us! Just let the moderator of this forum know how we can contact you and we will let you know of our next meeting and you can become involved. Our tax money can be put to work much more effectively by combining city and county efforts to build a bigger, better and well run shelter and the community can become involved in education and low cost spay/neuter clinics, as well as Jr. members who can interact with animals and projects.

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