In February 2018 a concerned member of the public noticed a strange compound deep in the woods and immediately called the police. When Tennessee cops later arrived on the scene, they found a number of makeshift shelters. However, that was just the start of their worrying discoveries.
For more than 40 years, Animal Rescue Corps has been providing animal protection across the whole of America. As a part of its work, the nonprofit organization rescues abused creatures as well as those affected by natural disasters.
In order to help as many individuals as possible, Animal Rescue Corps works alongside law enforcement agencies, government bodies and other welfare organizations. The non-profit’s overriding aim is to improve animal-human relations to the benefit of both parties.
And the team at Animal Rescue Corps strive to be proactive in their work. As a result, they conduct ambitious large-scale rescue missions that require a great deal of planning, generous financial backing and professional execution.
In February 2018, then, Animal Rescue Corps launched Operation Out of the Ring. The mission began after cops in Tennessee received a tip-off from a member of the public. The individual in question had been walking through some woodland when they’d noticed something that aroused their suspicions. Consequently, they feared that the welfare of dozens of animals was at stake.
So when officers from the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Department and Animal Rescue Corps staff arrived on the scene, an unnerving sight greeted them. Strewn across the forest floor were a number of makeshift kennels and plastic barrels.
That was only the start of the team’s alarming discoveries, however. On the property, they found 16 dogs in a dire physical state. Some of the animals, which were primarily German Shepherds and American Pit Bull Terriers, had been chained to stakes in the ground. Others lived in pens.
Not only were the animals forced to live in basic shelters, but also none of them had access to drinking water. Indeed, there were a few containers scattered throughout the forest, but they were either frozen or bone dry.
And while rescuers only found 16 dogs along with a couple of cats on the site, a further 60 empty containers and shelters made the team suspect that the forest site had previously been home to almost 80 animals. However, the indications were that someone had removed a number of dogs from the premises in the days prior to the raid.
In a statement posted to the Animal Rescue Corps Facebook page in February 2018, the organization’s president, Scotlund Haisley, said, “Efforts are currently underway to locate and rescue the rest of the dogs moved off this property. We and our law enforcement partners won’t give up.”
Before rescuers could get to the bottom of what had happened in the woods, though, they needed to deliver the remaining dogs to safety. The majority of the animals were underweight and suffering from sores. They also appeared to be infested with parasites.
From their years of experience, the Animal Rescue Corps team suspected that the animals’ owner had been raising them for dogfighting. A springboard and a treadmill found among the trees were believed to be training paraphernalia for the illegal so-called sport.
Following the discovery of the dogs, Sheriff Chris Davis appealed on Facebook for the public to come forward with information on the case. “Dog fighting is a felony, and we take this very seriously in our county,” he said. “We will continue on this case until we bring everyone involved to justice.
Despite their suspected ordeal, though, all the seized dogs were friendly and seemed to enjoy human attention. Animal Rescue Corps subsequently delivered all the dogs to a shelter. The group’s expert staff would care for them there until the animals were ready for adoption.
Before they got to that point, however, each dog had to undergo a full medical evaluation. They then received their vaccinations and any other treatment required. After that, the animals would be ready to move to other shelters, where teams can attempt to find them their perfect forever homes.
In the days following the dogs’ rescue, Animal Rescue Corps posted an update on Facebook. And it seemed that things were finally looking up for the animals. “The dogs are responding incredibly well to the daily care and attention they are receiving from ARC’s dedicated volunteers,” the statement read.
Following the dogs’ medical examinations, vets confirmed that the majority of the animals were indeed underweight. Furthermore, they found that one dog was suffering from heartworms, while two had Ehrlichia – an infection caused by ticks.
As well as medical care, the animals were receiving emotional support, too. The update revealed that staff were working hard to socialize the dogs. That way, they could increase the chances that the animals would make great pets one day.
“In addition to the ample enrichment and one-on-one socialization we typically provide, special supervised group socialization (playtime) is happening for the puppies,” the statement explained. “And we are modifying our methods to best meet the needs of the adult dogs.”
It continued, “While we cannot yet begin to place these animals with our partners, we are working daily to identify the needs of each animal and the best resources available to them so that, when allowed, we can move these dogs and cats forward in their journey to a new life as quickly as possible.”