A volunteer for the group said Thursday there were approximately 130 cats and kittens and 14 dogs inside the building with no air conditioning. As the temperature increased, Sumiton Police became involved in moving the animals out of the building to emergency adopters and other rescue organizations.
“They are making us out to be some kind of animal torturers and we aren’t,” director Allison Grayson said Thursday night. “We were trying to provide something that is desperately needed in this area, and we got no support or help from the community. They knew we were here, they just didn’t help.”
“A responsible shelter doesn’t take more than they can care for,” Paula Boschung, director of K9 ResQ of Alabama who arrived on scene to take the neglected dogs, said. “And when you reach your limit, you ask for help.” She added that, in her experience, local rescue groups such as Greater Birmingham Humane Society and Jefferson County Animal Control were always willing to help.
Grayson and volunteer Renee Walker arrived at the shelter late Thursday as the animals were being removed from the building. Both women were upset at the way they were being treated by the police and rescuers, and insisted that they had the best interests of the animals at heart.
Sumiton police have said that animal cruelty charges may be levied against those who had been running the shelter. Animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Alabama.
Volunteers worked late into the night to remove the last of the animals. Veterinarian Rachel Nelson arrived with numerous vehicles and crates to remove the 12 dogs remaining inside the facility at the behest of K9 ResQ of Alabama. When Nelson arrived, she decided to also take the cats that remained at the facility.
The late-night rescues, dubbed the “Sumiton 26” by their rescuers, are currently recovering at Crossroads. The 12 dogs, 11 cats and kittens and three feral cats have been evaluated and are being treated for a variety of medical issues. Also, rescuers were concerned that the animals, who were all housed together, were not spayed and neutered and that some of the females may be pregnant, and of the dogs appeared to be from the same litter. Despite their conditions, which rescuers called “deplorable,” the puppies began to bounce back almost immediately.
“When we got them out of the crates and turned them loose in the yard, they went from lethargic and clinging to life, to playing and jumping around,” Boschung said. She said the animals were all extremely hot and dehydrated, but, with basic care, were beginning to perk up and show their personalities more.
Boschung had high praise for Nelson, who loaded up vehicles with supplies and staff after hours and drove to Sumiton from Moody to transport the animals.
“Not many veterinarians would do that,” Boschung said. “I think she is a great asset to the rescue community.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to their care can send funds to Crossroads Animal Hospital in Moody, 1826 Carl Jones Rd, Moody, AL 35004. They ask that you specify the money is for the care of the K9 RESQ dogs from Walker County.
Anyone interested in adopting or fostering the animals can contact the rescue at firstname.lastname@example.org.