We are so pleased to report that, thanks to a generous donation by @kryptok9, ALL dogs scheduled for transport on October 20th are now spayed and neutered and otherwise vetted for transport. They’ll need health certificates closer to the date and two need a round of doxycycline, but the bulk of the vetting expense has been covered and now we just have to focus on transport logistics.
The total bill for the care of five dogs who needed surgeries (the sixth was neutered previously) was over five hundred U.S. Dollars. @kryptok9 participated in a reward program for years that issues "vet checks." Some of those vet checks paid to vet TARC’s dogs, and we are deeply grateful. “I don't care if they're my dogs, your dogs, or whose dogs,” the Director of @kryptok9 said to me the day of the appointments. “I'm happy to help so we can just get them out of here.”
Transport is entirely revenue-negative. There’s zero profit to be made by rescues like TARC in the practice of relocating animals to other parts of the country. No such thing as “breaking even.” Animal relocation is a central theme of no-kill movements who claim that pet overpopulation is a myth. They cite statistics like those in the image below and use such rhetoric to support their cause.
The numbers might be accurate according to research done along a certain slant, but they are completely misleading when it comes to actual practice. If the numbers reflected reality, then a great demand would exist from receiving agencies across the nation for adoptable dogs, and the onus for funding transport would be on them. Instead, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to find placement for dogs emerging from high kill areas like Central Appalachia, and it is rare indeed to find a receiving agency willing to help with the expense of relocation…even though they end up collecting the adoption fees, while front-line rescues typically collect nothing.
This is not to say that receiving agencies have no expenses of their own. We were fortunate enough to find a rescue partner in Vermont who sees the unfair distribution of financial responsibility and helps us with pre-transport vetting. They are a glaring exception. Front-line rescues like TARC often get little say about which dogs we intake, as they’re frequently dumped on our doorstep in the middle of the night despite the fact that abandonment is a crime. More often than not, the dogs coming into our rescue are unhealthy and need hundreds—sometimes thousands—of dollars in vetting before they’re even well enough to sterilize. Heartworm-positive dogs cannot be transported across state lines, so any dog in our rescue with positive antibodies is stuck here until they die, or until we can raise the $800-$2,000 for treatment.
Yet consistently, front-line rescues like TARC and the one run by @kryptok9 are the least well-funded, the least respected, and the most vilified organizations in the industry. Because we’re not a municipal shelter with a six-figure annual budget, we don’t qualify for most grants offered by major animal welfare agencies. Because we don’t have the words “humane society” in our names, we’re regarded with suspicion by law enforcement and citizens alike.
In truth, the term “humane society” is not copyrighted and any group, incorporated or non-incorporated, nonprofit or blatant puppy mill, can use those words in its name. The same is true for “SPCA.” One “humane society” local to me regularly receives large donations and financial support from the community, yet has no facility, does not foster any animals, and transports animals directly from the municipal shelter without investing in any vetting whatsoever. They typically transport them in-state, where no health certificates are required. Therefore in-state agencies stay full of unvetted shelter dogs, leaving rescue dogs nowhere to go but north. This “humane society” also offers no community spay/neuter assistance and frequently declines to get involved in issues of animal abuse or neglect. Yet because of their name, laypersons and officials alike assume they operate with some sort of authority. They do not. This dynamic holds true in many, many areas across the U.S., not just here.
Yesterday was rough, but it was worth it, and I would do it all over again if it meant helping dogs like the ones we took to the vet yesterday. I know some people will bash us for saying we are in the business of "shipping" dogs out of here, but people like that just don't understand the rescue "business," which isn't a business at all. I honestly believe there are no other options, especially when neither of us "cherry pick" the highly adoptable dogs that people want to fight over. When I say "get them out of here," what I really mean is "move them to a place where there are wonderful people waiting to provide loving homes for unwanted and misfit dogs in this area." I keep thinking of Barkley (the others too, but especially Barkley) because I know dogs of his breed do not stand a chance at a "real home" around here, and he deserves to have a great home where he can be admired and loved. I have yet to find homes like that here for dogs like him.
The above is posted here with permission from @kryptok9, who has been involved in Appalachian animal welfare for more than a decade, working extensively not only with Tazewell, Russell, and Buchanan Counties, but Wise County, Wythe County, and McDowell County, West Virginia. This sentiment accurately reflects my own experience with rescue in Central Appalachia, as well. I find it unspeakably frustrating that regions like Southwest Virginia are consistently ignored and marginalized by the major U.S. animal welfare groups like HSUS, ASPCA, and Best Friends NMHP. I’ve reached out repeatedly to regional representatives from all three of those groups and have yet to receive any assistance for our area. In fact, rather than acknowledging the problem, groups like Best Friends post propaganda like the chart below, designed to display Virginia as having one of the highest save rates in the nation—all the while animals die by the thousands in rural kill shelters with zero involvement by Best Friends in changing the paradigm.
We’ll share more insight about this in future posts. Right now, it’s relevant only in demonstrating why agencies like TARC are so woefully underfunded. Plans are in the works to launch a major awareness campaign using blockchain technology, but it’s in the initial stages and won’t help us with the dogs who need to leave on this transport. E.J., Barkley, Gretyl, Henry, Ziggy, and Dusty are scheduled to leave on October 20. That’s thirteen days from now. Yet we have zero funds to rent a vehicle (much less pay for commercial transport averaging $150 per crate.) We have zero funds for gas or hotel stay in New Hampshire after the four dogs headed to a rescue in that state are delivered. We have zero funds for health certificates, and zero funds for doxycycline to treat Barkley and Dusty, since both presented with positive Lyme tests. It is possible to transport dogs infected with tick-borne diseases, since those diseases are not transmissible from dog to dog. But treatment beforehand is required. We need to get those antibiotics started Monday, which means the need for roughly $200 in emergency vetting is quite dire.
As far as the cost of transport itself, we can receive donations of FIAT, Steem, SBD, and Bitcoin, as well as prepaid gas and debit cards. FIAT donations should go to PayPal through the address of firstname.lastname@example.org . Steem and SBD donations can come directly through this account. Bitcoin can be sent to receive address 1CsZfjD7v68iR8Gx8q9o3qehKoeZKNeGGd . If you’re interested in donating a prepaid gas or debit card, please let us know in the comments and we’ll figure out the best way for you to get that to us.
Thank you so much for being interested in this cause!