The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 12, 2013

New center offers help for dogs consumed by fear

(Continued)

A team of 10 people, including two behavior experts from St. Hubert's, will staff the center. Volunteers and daily caretakers will feed the dogs and clean kennels.

Graduating dogs will return to a shelter for placement and ASPCA shelter partners will continue working with the dogs if needed, Collins said.

St. Hubert's is a longtime disaster partner of the ASPCA and jumped at the chance to be involved, said President and CEO Heather Cammisa.

Fear and anxiety are major factors that can hinder a dog's quality of life, she said.

"If they are hiding in the back of the cage and they are fearful, No. 1, they don't have a good quality of life and, No. 2, they are not going to be selected for adoption and when they go home, they are not really prepared to be the family pet that adopters seek, so this is just a win-all-around," she said.

The ASPCA spent over half a million dollars on the building, Cammisa said, and will pay all other expenses, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, treatments and other care.

Weather permitting, the first few dogs will arrive in the next day or two from the Pacific Northwest, Collins said.

They will be the last of 213 Alaskan malamutes seized from a Montana breeder who was convicted in December 2012 of 91 counts of animal cruelty. After being starved and living in filth at the breeding facility, the dogs then had to be kept in kennels as evidence for 16 months while the trial played out.

Malamutes are 75-pound dogs. "Eighteen of the dogs were pregnant. One pregnant dog only weighed 48 pounds and had eight pups. Only one survived," said Bob Sutherland of Anchorage, president of the Alaska Malamute Assistance League.

The dogs were released to a humane society in Helena, Mont., where they were spayed and neutered, and another group helped place the animals.

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