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38 dogs rescued from rural La Salle County home

A call Friday about a house filled with dogs in squalid conditions prompted action Saturday by Illinois Valley Animal Rescue.

On Saturday, IVAR Executive Director Chris Tomsha said she and her sister, Sue Jacobsen, IVAR president, persuaded a woman to let them into a home in rural La Salle County, where there were 47 dogs. Some of the dogs had been walking on floors encrusted in dog feces, Tomsha said.

Tomsha would not disclose the name of the owner or location of the home in rural La Salle County. She said she contacted the sheriff’s office after receiving the report and surveying the home to let law enforcement know she was going to try to meet with the woman and rescue the dogs.

“I couldn’t, in good conscience, from what I saw, leave those dogs there,” Tomsha said.

Despite the conditions within the residence, Tomsha said all of the dogs appeared well-fed. She will have a veterinarian determine whether all are healthy.

Tomsha said she let the owner know she either could allow IVAR to take the dogs and find them homes or the woman could get in trouble with the county or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The woman cooperated. To keep from having many people enter the home with the state coronavirus precautions in place, only Tomsha and Jacobsen entered the house. On Saturday, they filled almost two dozen IVAR crates with 38 small dogs in the 5- to 14-pound range, and they planned to return Sunday or early Monday to retrieve nine more dogs and some cats.

After she and Jacobsen arrived at the shelter in La Salle around 1 p.m. Saturday with their two SUVs loaded with dogs, Tomsha asked the media and a group of about 12 volunteers to hold off on immediately putting out information on the internet. She wanted to be sure the woman would not decide against letting her and Jacobsen back into the house to remove other animals.

Volunteers donned gloves and many wore face masks to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing protocols as they carried dogs in crates, one crate at a time, to the entrance of the shelter, where another volunteer found the animals a spot to occupy.

Tomsha said that prior to Saturday, the number of dogs at the shelter was down from normal. Now with so many dogs, she said she reached out to see if other shelters, such as Pet Project, could care for some of the dogs until adoption. On Sunday, Tomsha said Bishop’s Small Dog Rescue in Princeton offered to take some of the dogs that seemed the healthiest and perhaps best-socialized.

Tomsha said she plans to separate some of the dogs to see if they are socialized at all. Many were living in their own filth in playpen-type setups and Tomsha said she’s trying to determine if they have been outside, ever stood on grass or concrete or walked up or down stairs.

Tomsha planned to return to the residence to fetch nine more dogs and some cats Monday morning.

La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton said he had not heard about the situation at the house until Saturday. He said Tomsha called him after retrieving the 38 dogs.

Templeton said at this time, as a precaution to prevent the control and spread of COVID-19, he is not sending deputies to knock on doors and enter homes for a matter that’s not immediately threatening to a person. Templeton talked Saturday to Gary Wind, an animal control officer for La Salle County, who said that at this time, the animal control officers are advised against entering homes in such a situation.

Templeton said he advised Tomsha to take precautions for her safety and for the safety of IVAR volunteers. “I’m concerned for her well-being,” Templeton said. “These people can catch it (coronavirus disease) as easily as anyone else.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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