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October 13, 2009

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Horse Neglect

October 7, 2009

This past Saturday, Yalobusha County Deputy, Jim Bailey received a report of starving horses. When he arrived at the property he found four starving horses and one dead horse. The only horse on the property that wasn’t starving was a horse the property owner had acquired just two weeks earlier. The deputy reported the property owner told him that he had been cutting enough grass daily to feed to horses. Clearly this wasn’t the case.

Rain rot on her sides and back.

The horses arrived at Project Hope on Saturday evening. One by one as the horses were backed out of the trailer it was clear they were in dire need of immediate help. One of the horses had badly cut his left hock in a failed attempt to climb a fence to get to feed. He was unsteady on his feet and was badly banged up.

Clear starvation and leg wounds.

Each of the horses suffer from “rain rot”, a fungal infection, that occurs when the animals are subjected to too much moisture for long periods. Dr. Abernathy came and treated the horse with the wounded leg – we’re keeping the wound clean and wrapped. We also treated all the horses for parasites.

Dr. Abernathy gets to work on the leg wound.

Feeding was chaos for the first couple of days. The horses were so starved that they forced their heads in the feed buckets before we could direct them to their feeding spots. Each horse has been nearly single-handedly consuming a bale of hay per day. Yesterday morning was the first time the horses, emus, and pigs all ate in harmony in their designated feeding spots.

These horses reflect just a few of the scores of calls for help we and our partners in horse rescue are receiving. Everyone is overwhelmed and we are at capacity. Just getting to the cases is an daunting task. We are trying our best to guide law enforcement and people in the community to aid the horses they know are suffering. During an interview on “Mississippi Talks” radio on Monday, I let listeners all over the state know that it’s time for our statewide disaster response program to trickle down to community efforts to aid animals in the daily disasters of they face.

We are grateful for our supporters and fellow staff who work so hard to see that we can perform the lifesaving work that we do. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of these four horses.

Everyone resting comfortably at the Sanctuary.

Victory for Carroll County Dogs!

September 17, 2009
Applon being seized from the property in Carroll County.

On Monday, Doll was back in a Carroll County courtroom fighting to win the freedom of 12 dogs kept in squalid conditions. This was Doll’s third trip to court for this case and the judge finally awarded Doll custody of all 12 dogs. Project Hope seized the dogs back in August with the help of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and the dogs have been convalescing at the Sanctuary ever since. They are all doing well, despite all having been infected with numerous parasites and being way under-weight. Once healthy these dogs will be sent to Every Creature Counts in Denver to start a new life in a loving home.

Emma, still afraid, but resting comfortably at Project Hope.

from the press release on this case:

Carroll County Court awards In Defense of Animals (IDA) custody of seized dogs

Carroll County, Miss. – On September 15, In Defense of Animals (IDA) was awarded custody of 12 severely neglected dogs. Carroll County Justice Court Judge Jimmy Avant ruled against a claim that the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and IDA had gone beyond the scope of their seizure order when confiscating the dogs. The court ruled the dogs were lawfully seized.

The investigation was prompted by three complaints concerning the condition of the dogs. On June 26, IDA’s Project Hope sanctuary in Carroll County received two of the calls. Doll Stanley, IDA’s Director of Investigations and the Project Hope sanctuary, responded.

“I saw emaciated dogs chained without proper shelter, their water blackened with filth, debris, and mosquito larvae. A few had dried bread and slop in their pans, two had molded slop in theirs. A hound was confined in a travel dog box for beagles and terriers. She could not sit or stand and the box was laden with filth. Another dog was confined in a feces-laden cage infested with maggots. The dogs had sores, matted eyes, and most suffered skin disorders,” reported Stanley.

Initially, Judge Avant gave a warning and time to the “owner” of the dogs to correct their conditions. IDA’s Project Hope and veterinarians sent letters urging immediate action. On August 6, the judge asked Deputy Brad Carver to see if conditions for the dogs had improved. They hadn’t, so a seizure order was issued, and IDA, acting as agent for the CCSO, removed the dogs on August 7. The seizure took place on Carroll County Road 129.

According to IDA’s Stanley, “When we returned the 7th to remove the dogs, some had been loosed and others had been moved. We enticed and trapped the loose dogs with food. Then, learning the other dogs were moved beyond the residence we went for them. Two were chained in the midst of debris – one was the dog who’d been held in the transport box. The others were confined in what could only be described as pig wallow. Water, feces, and earth had combined to create a horrid confinement of black muck. Two of the rescuers became ill from the stench.”

The “owner” of the dog failed to seek a hearing for their custody, and his son petitioned that the dogs were wrongly taken from the adjoining property. Judge Avant found no credence to the property issue.

Transport: On The Road Again

September 9, 2009
Doll hugs Miracle just before placing her on the transport to Denver.

Nobody actually enjoys driving for 48 hours of 60 hour trip – I mean come on. But when you’re driving animals, who for the most part have lived their lives mostly unwanted, to a place where they are not only wanted, but are treated like little celebrities, it’s totally worth it. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be highly motivated and I’ve never met anyone more motivated to give animals a fighting chance than Doll Stanley.

So today, Doll and Lisa leave once again for Every Creature Counts (ECC) with a truckload of wonderful animals all ready to start a new life in the Denver area. Normally we wouldn’t be able do another transport so quickly on the heels of the last transport, but ECC has a big adoption weekend coming up this weekend, so we pulled some strings to make it happen.

Better late than never – here are just a few of the animals who started a new life in the Denver area this past weekend.

Lisa hugs Whitley.


Mike and Joey.

Chapman and Carver.



One last check by Dr. Abernathy before we depart.

We Need Your Help!

August 27, 2009

We don’t beg lightly, but our wish list hasn’t had a dent put in it a long, long time. We’re also running dangerously low on funds due to recent transports, vaccines and veterinary costs.

Doll says it best:

Project Hope needs a truck tough enough to pull our large horse trailer. We plan to convert our trailer so that we may use it for transport of dogs and cats as well as horses, emus, pigs and the other species we care for. Renting a truck each time we travel takes resources badly needed elsewhere. We’re also in need of a tractor, equipped with a bushhog, blade, and scoop.

We need funds for transports, vet bills, medicine, feed, etc. Our water bill alone is sometimes as much as $300 a month.

We have electric and plumbing work that must be done, and fences that need repair. Many of the dog’s resting decks need attention. The dogs play and lounge on them and they take a beating. The decks and buildings that are supported by blocks don’t hold up long term and the cement work they need is enormously expensive. We want to preserve what we have and provide a safe and comfortable environment for the animals and we need your support to do that.

Please consider our needs and give generously to support our life-saving work.

You can send donations directly to Project Hope at:

52 County Road 241
Grenada, MS 38901

Please contact us directly at 662-237-0233 if you live in the Grenada area and would like to donate goods or services.

The Life of Riley

August 25, 2009

Itamar arrived at Project Hope with his siblings back in December of last year. Hairless, suffering from mange and completely terrified. Over the next couple of months Doll worked tirelessly to transform these three pups and in late February two of the three (Itamar and Larry) were transferred to Every Creature Counts in Denver.

Both dogs were soon adopted and just a few days ago we received an update from Itamar’s new guardian, Tracy – with photos! Itamar has a wonderful new life and new name, Riley. Below is the letter and photos we received from Tracy.

Take a look at some of the before photos and video and it’s hard to believe this is the same dog.

from Tracy:

A walk in the park.

He is adorable! We have come a LOOONG way together since he came to my house April 5th. He was SO fearful, so insecure… but he is doing so much better. He makes me laugh and he seems so proud of himself when he gets to run around the park off leash, or walk through town with strangers all around and he doesn’t cower from them anymore.

Wrestling and belly rubs.

He is definitely happiest with other dogs around and wants to play with ANY dog no matter size, shape, etc. We have lots of “play dates” and trips to the dog park! He gets compliments wherever we go, he is just so beautiful. This past weekend was his first camping trip and let me tell you – he was in his element. He LOVES being outside, near water, etc. – he had such a happy time. The funniest thing about Riley is how he acts when he gets near/in water. He just goes CRAZY! He leaps around and runs as fast as he can in and out of the water – it is very amusing.

Riley in his element.

I’m attaching some photos – hopefully you can see how big he is! He is about 50lbs now and his paws look big, so he may have more growing to do! I love him so dearly and it has been super rewarding watching him become a confident, happy dog. THANK YOU for all you did to save him!!!!

Transport Follow-up

August 17, 2009

Doll and former employee, Lisa Martin, who had helped extensively during Hurricane Katrina, transported 52 animals to Every Creature Counts in Denver this past Friday. What is normally a 24 hour one-way trip, took nearly 36 hours because of the long breaks walking the dogs and cleaning cages. They were also delayed saving a kitten off the interstate in Kansas.

Here are a few of the animals starting a new life in the Denver area this week.




Puppies, puppies, puppies





Update for August 10, 2009

August 10, 2009

from Doll:

Last Thursday, Lauren and I responded to a report that the Winona Pound was again overcrowded and there were pups in with big dogs, as well as a mother and newborns. The sight was tragic. In the first run there were but three dogs, but the larger two jumped the little guy. Moments later, a second fight broke out. There were five large dogs in this run, one culvert section to sleep in and one feeder. It’s just not good enough to hear the Humane Society and the city speak of how things will change soon. They may be getting a grant to build a modest shelter, but how’s that helping all the dogs that are there right now?

Doll removes two of a group of four puppies from the Winona Pound.

There’s no doubt that the lives of the dogs we take out improve immediately, but what about the ones we can’t take. Blue Eyes and Ol’ Man have been there for months. The Humane Society has asked me not to make waves with the city over our disgust with the treatment of the animals at the Pound. I perfectly understand politics, but what about the precious dogs that linger in their sub-standard facilities?

Corey poses for a quick photo at Project Hope.

We did bring Cassie and her three pups home, Nora and her six pups (there were ten dogs in their run), and Corey, the little guy who was jumped. As for the dogs we couldn’t get, Amy will help me send photos of them to her Homeward Bound team at Mississippi State. Hopefully we can get them into the program. Again, what about the other dogs? This same scene is repeated in nearly every small town shelter in Mississippi and across the country for that matter.

A Happy Update

Weeks ago I received three frantic calls for dogs chained on Carroll County Road 129. A postal carrier who’d seen the dogs said she got sick after seeing them. I investigated and found the report to be accurate. I gathered the photos I took and contacted the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Brad Carver accompanied me on this second trip to the property.

Doll holds Rosebud just after removing him from his “kennel”.

Rosebud in his “kennel”.

The Deputy and I went to the property and he fully agreed that the dogs were in danger. I took video as we spoke with Mrs. Applon, the “owner’s” wife, and pointed out and explained to her what the problems were. She was cordial.

After leaving the Deputy and I discussed the urgency of seizing the dogs. I went to Justice Court and spoke with the Clerk, who prepared a seizure order and I left the photo evidence for Judge Avant. The seizure order would be carried out under MCCS 97-41-2, a civil statute allowing for the seizure of animals that results in the transfer of temporary or permanent custody when their “owner” is unwilling, or unable to care for them.

Marcus is skin and bones.

The Judge didn’t speak with either me or the Sheriff’s Office and when I didn’t hear back, I tried to contact him for days. The Sheriff finally made contact with him and was advised that the Judge had spoken with the dog’s guardian instructing him to feed his dogs better.

I then wrote Judge Avant detailing the condition of each animal and the environment they were being subjected to. I told him I would have Dr. Busby, of Mississippi State University and Dr. Katz, IDA’s President, write him giving their professional opinion. August 6, a week and a month since my first visit to see the dogs, Judge Avant called the Sheriff and told him to go see if the condition of the dogs had improved. The Sheriff reported that nothing had changed. Judge Avant then issued a seizure order.

Maggots cover the floor of this kennel.

On August 7th, Lauren and I, accompanied by Deputy Carver, seized the dogs. They were taken to Veterinary Associates for diagnosis of skin conditions, possible parasite infestation, and general health check-ups. We arrived after closing on Saturday, but Veterinary Associates made themselves available (and we are so grateful) and our Amy, a senior vet student at MSU, assisted with the process.

Today Deputy Carver and I will follow up with the judge for setting the bond for the Applon dogs care for the period given for an “owner” to request a hearing, post a bond, and for interim until the hearing.

On the way to the seizure Friday we spotted CeCe, a pup, fleeing through the tall grass on the side of the road. I was able to gain her trust and she accompanied us on the seizure.

An Unhappy Update

Sorry to end this report with terrible news, but in the 16+ years I’ve been doing this work I have come to know first hand that not every story will have a happy ending. Our little Raisin, pulled nearly hairless from the Clarksdale Shelter, has died. She succumbed to parvo which she was exposed to at the Shelter. We’re absolutely heart-broken over the loss, but we know we did what we could. The only good news to this story is that her siblings, Butterscotch and Winkie, are both doing well.

16 Years and Counting

August 6, 2009

August marks the 16th year since In Defense of Animals’ Mid-South Office, better known as Project Hope, came to be. On August 1, 1993 Doll officially opened the Sanctuary.

Technically, Doll had already been in Mississippi for several months investigating and working to shut down several dog-nappers who had been stealing people’s dogs off the street and selling them to research labs. Jerry Vance was one of the key players in this pet-theft ring and Doll eventually put him out of business.

Below are three news clips from WABG-TV in Greenville, MS that detail the case.

In the 16 years since Doll arrived in Mississippi, she’s helped better the lives of thousands of animals. Of course, she couldn’t do it without her network of other animal caretakers, whistle-blowers, sympathetic judges, prosecutors, sheriffs and other law enforcement.

I’ve worked with Doll on several occasions and I can honestly say that I have never met a harder working, more dedicated, compassionate and kinder person. Thanks, Doll, for all your hard work over the past 16+ years.

Please take a moment to send Doll an e-mail congratulating her on her 16 years of service to the animals of Mississippi.

-Eric P.

Clarksdale, MS Shelter

July 31, 2009

The Clarksdale, MS Animal Shelter has been hell for animals for years. Each time I visited the excuse was they were getting new kennels which would help alleviate the intense over-crowding. The sickening irony is that this “no kill” shelter is in the hands of the Clarksdale Humane Society.

Well, I paid them another visit last week and they have more kennels – many more. It’s not as crowded, but I challenge you to find a single healthy animal in the entire facility. Scores of dogs are ravaged by mange, infected eyes, and stressed beyond words.

Raisin, Butterscotch and Winkie now rescued
from the Clarksdale Shelter.

The entrance is wall to wall with cats, with some pups and small dogs interspersed. Local jail inmates fill the seating area and an inmate greeted us and showed us around. After the guided tour from the inmate, I finally found and spoke with two people that were probably staff, although they didn’t identify themselves as such.

The second room was crammed full. The walls were lined with fixed cages while the floor was covered with ring pens which surrounded the screened-in cattery. How the cats could endure the noise and stress was beyond me.

The floor was smeared with feces. Loose juvenile pups covered in mange roamed from cage to cage and pen to pen and greeted us.

One pen contained 5-6 completely naked five month-old pups. The dogs that weren’t naked to partially naked had patchy rough looking coats. Clearly mange was ravaging the population. All left untreated.

A smaller room in the back held crated dogs. Crate upon crate upon crate. In a bottom crate a totally naked dog managed to thump her tail while gunk oozed from her nearly closed eyes.

Dutchess, the pup’s mom, was also rescued.

Outside we were greeted by at least ten dogs running free on the property. Some displayed aggression and none looked healthy. Outside kennel after kennel of large rough looking dogs. So very sad. At least half of the kennels had zero shade with temperatures in the 90s or higher every day. Imagine five dogs trying to crowd into two barrels, igloos or houses to get out of the sun. It was absolute torture to watch.

I could go on and on. I’ll just say we plan to join forces with other organizations and veterinarians who will speak out and possibly the health department and State Animal Board of Health to stop this insanity. The health department may engage as the sarcoptic mange could easily be transmitted to humans who dare to set foot on the property.

We grabbed a mom and three puppies – all suffering from advance, untreated sarcoptic mange. Their lives have already gotten better and we’ll hopefully provide a happy update to this sad story soon in a future post.