Betty — or Old Blue Eyes, as many are calling her — could have been just another statistic. Instead, she was one of more than 40 dogs and two cats rescued by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and brought to the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville.
The owner of the puppy mill pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after a yearlong investigation led by the Pulaski County attorney’s office and sheriff’s office. As part of the plea agreement, he relinquished ownership of the animals to the ASPCA, which established a temporary shelter at KHS to house and care for the animals.
At KHS, Old Blue Eyes and the other rescued pets received nutritious food, medical care and behavior enrichment. The dogs began to learn how to walk on a leash, to play with toys, to enjoy human touch. Their medical issues — which ranged from skin and eye diseases to more serious conditions — were addressed. Behavior experts helped them begin the journey of overcoming their fears and learning to trust and love people.
After she was deemed physically and emotionally healthy, Old Blue Eyes, along with many of the dogs, was placed up for adoption last weekend. I am overwhelmed by the number of people who came forward to adopt these needy animals. It is a testament to how compassionate our community is.
While many people were especially moved by the heartbreaking history of these former puppy mill dogs, every adoptable animal at KHS has a unique story to tell. Some come to us as strays. Others are brought in when their owners are no longer able to care for them. Many come from overcrowded, public shelters — where adoption options are few.
All deserve second chances at loving, permanent homes. Thankfully, when they come to KHS, they get that second chance.
In 2013, we found homes for 6,316 cats and dogs — the most in our 130-year history. We saved every single adoptable pet, or over 90 percent of the cats and dogs who came through our doors.
Many of the pets we take in need medical or behavior rehabilitation. This can be quite expensive. KHS is a private, nonprofit agency, and we rely on donations to fuel our lifesaving mission.
Lots of people have asked me what they can do to help these former puppy mill dogs and other pets recovering from cruelty, neglect, trauma or illness. I encourage everyone to adopt their next pet. I also invite them to donate to our Help Me Heal fund. This restricted fund pays for medical treatment and behavior modification above and beyond normal shelter care. Help Me Heal allowed us to help more than 200 animals last year — pets who had poor prospects at happy, healthy lives without intervention.
To donate to Help Me Heal, give online at www.kyhumane.org/donate and type “Help Me Heal” in the comments field. Or mail a check to Kentucky Humane Society, 1000 Lyndon Lane, Louisville, KY 40222, writing “Help Me Heal” in the memo line. Gifts may also be made by calling (502) 515-3144 or (502) 515-3131.
While we still have lots of work to do, I am grateful for the many animal lovers in our community who help companion animals by donating, spaying and neutering, and choosing to adopt. To learn more about our lifesaving work, follow us on facebook.com/kyhumane or twitter.com/kyhumane, or visit our website, www.kyhumane.org.