11 Dogs Taken in Today- Join 36 Dogs in Protective Custody
Stratham, NH – On Thursday, June 7, 2018, the New Hampshire SPCA took in 11 mixed breed dogs assisting a local police department. The dogs were surrendered as the owner had become too overwhelmed to care for them.
Under normal circumstances, taking in 11 adult dogs in one day would be challenging. But the New Hampshire SPCA isn’t in “normal” circumstances. For the past 6 months, the NHSPCA has been caring for 36 German Shepherd dogs and three rabbits being held in protective custody. As their owner awaits trial on animal cruelty charges, the dogs wait in limbo. “Holding animals for extended periods of time while court battles drag on is tragic,” said Lisa Dennison, Executive Director of the New Hampshire SPCA. “These animals are being fed, cared for, cleaned-up after, and kept healthy. Many are growing up having never known a home. They require a great deal from our staff and volunteers. But the hardest part is that we don’t know when there will be a chance for them to find a home. German Shepherds need to be active and right now we have puppies growing up in kennels and dogs that should be living in loving homes, just waiting. We do our very best, but a shelter or a kennel is not a home.”
The New Hampshire SPCA is required by law to keep the animals, held as evidence, until the court decides their fate. In addition, the burden of the cost of caring for 36 dogs is astronomical. The towns of Bristol and Alexandria, where the cases originated last December, have indicated that they cannot assist in shouldering this cost. It is unknown at this time if and when restitution may be ordered and if so, how and when the funds might reach us. History is not on our side…at this point, our expenses exceed $100,000 and typically only 18% of restitution cases ordered are actually ever paid.
“We have spent through our SOS Emergency Fund which was established to help with the cost of rescuing animals,” said Ms. Dennison. “We have been hemorrhaging money for months now and need our community’s assistance to help care for these animals. We need to rebuild our SOS Fund to be able to continue to care for these dogs and other animals that may need us. Please give if you are able.”
In February, Jennifer Choate pled not guilty. Cases involving live evidence, such as living, breathing dogs, are required by NH law to be expedited, however the case has now been postponed several times with the next hearing now scheduled for July.
So, to be sure, the New Hampshire SPCA is not in normal circumstances. The 11 dogs that came in today will be examined, given care as needed and will hopefully be available for adoption soon. The German Shepherds will continue their wait.
If you would like to help with the cost of care and to help insure their recovery, please make a tax-deductible contribution to the SOS FUND.
Gifts to the SOS Fund can also be made by phone at 603-772-2921 x 102 or by mail: New Hampshire SPCA, PO Box 196, Stratham, NH 03885.