February 3, 2020
Fauquier SPCA sheltering surge of seized animals
Fauquier SPCA staff member Maddy Garrison comforts one of the 43 Doberman pinschers seized from a local breeding kennel last week.
A French bulldog from the raided kennel gets some love from Emily Cross at the Casanova shelter Friday afternoon.
It’s stressful but, at the same time, we wanted to get the animals out of there and into a safe situation.
— Fauquier SPCA Executive Director Devon Settle
After an intense week, the Fauquier SPCA shelter near Casanova will reopen to the public Monday afternoon.
Almost instantly, the shelter’s population more than doubled Tuesday, Jan. 28, when Fauquier Animal Control officers seized 138 dogs and other critters from a kennel near Broad Run and charged its owner with animal cruelty.
“It’s stressful but, at the same time, we wanted to get the animals out of there and into a safe situation,” SPCA Executive Director Devon Settle said as she led a tour of the shelter. “They are getting cleaned and walked.
“The sick ones have greater needs. They are all being taken care of.”
But, the surge of seized animals — pushing the shelter census to 250 — has taxed the SPCA’s 28-member staff, which includes a full-time veterinarian. Four local vets also have volunteered their services to help.
Ms. Settle and her staff got some advance notice of the plan to raid Irina Barrett’s kennel last week.
“We did have a triage team here, and we got a lot of empty kennels ready,” she said.
But, the staff had to covert other rooms to temporary kennel space for the dogs — most them Doberman Pinschers and French bulldogs — ranging in age from young adults to puppies just weeks old. The officers also seized chickens, guinea pigs and a turtle.
Around-the-clock care includes blood tests, x-rays, medical treatment, feeding, walking and comforting, especially for the most traumatized animals.
Although the staff trains for and deals with difficult cases all the time, the sheer number of needy animals affects the humans caring for them.
“They laugh; they cry; they joke,” Ms. Settle said of her staff. “They just work terrifically as a team.”
The overtime hours and supply needs also have strained the shelter, which remained closed until Monday morning, Feb. 3, for routine business.
“Everybody wants to come out right now and adopt a dog or walk a dog,” Ms. Settle said Friday afternoon.
But, the seized animals also constitute evidence in the criminal case. So, it could take some time to determine their future.
Financial donations and contributions to the SPCA’s “Wish List” on Amazon will provide the most immediate help, Ms. Settle said.
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Silii · February 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Everyone, open your wallet and donate to the Fauquier SPCA. This is total love for animals, for God's creatures.
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