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Friday, Jul 20, 2007County: New Castle
Case Images: 1 files available
Alleged: Karen Dillon
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Animal control officers are seizing more than 60 dogs, including some puppies, after charging a woman who said she rescued them from an out-of-state pound to keep them from being killed.
Karen Dillon of Minquadale was charged with animal cruelty, violation of the state law requiring adult dogs' rabies inoculation and the federal offense of interstate transportation of dogs without the mandatory veterinarian certification of health.
Dillon, who said she was acting as a private animal lover and is not connected with any Delaware rescue group, said she was surprised by the charges and hopes she will not be prosecuted.
"If I hadn't taken the dogs, they all would have been dead now," she said, adding that she had been working with a veterinarian and two veterinary technicians on their care. Bathing the dogs and treating them for parasites alone took her, family and friends more than 10 hours, she said. "They were covered with fleas and ticks when I got them." All were tested for heart worm and five tested positive, she said.
An "adoption day" event was planned for Saturday in cooperation with a Red Lion area groomer, to find homes for the dogs, Dillon said, showing a flier for the event, which said adoptive families would be required to spay or neuter the dogs.
"There was a lot of interest and we had a lot of calls," she added, "but that's canceled now."
The dogs are being taken to the Camden-area shelter of the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has the state contract for dog control.
Executive Director Murray Goldthwaite said, "They will be seen by our veterinarian and they will basically go into an isolation period." All will be checked for microchip identification and any with the subcutaneous identification capsules will be returned to owners, he said. Those that are sick will be treated and any needing inoculations will get them, he added.
The investigation remains open, under direction of the Department of Agriculture, which issued the order for the dogs' seizure, he said.
Working with the department, Goldthwaite said, "Our intentions are to get them all treated and adopted."
Dillon said she still hopes Delawareans will open their hearts and homes to the dogs, many of which wagged their tails when she or her daughters walked near them.
The dogs ranged from young puppies to older adults, in a variety of breeds. Dillon said she brought back a total of 65 dogs, but four more, all border collie mixes -- three newborns with their eyes still closed and one about eight weeks old -- were so severely dehydrated, they did not survive.
All that survived were starving and have been eating well, drinking plenty of water and responding well to human contact since arriving in Delaware, she said.
"These were once somebody's pets," she said, adding that she doesn't know how many were surrendered by owners or had gotten loose and been caught.
As a crew of uniformed officers from the Kent County SPCA carried out a steady stream of dog carriers from the basement and backyard kennel of her home in the 300 block of E. Hazeldell Ave., Dillon fought tears as she said she still believes she did the right thing rescuing the animals.
The animal control officers said they were not permitted to comment.
Dillon said she contacted the pound in South Carolina through a rescue group that has taken animals from the location in the past and arranged to borrow a friend's trailer to bring home about 20 puppies and dogs.
All of the homeless dogs, at the shelter for a week, were scheduled to be destroyed on July 6, she said, "but we got them to hold them until I could get there on [the following] Monday."
She said she knows Delaware already struggles to find enough families to adopt homeless dogs and that thousands of the unwanted ones are killed in shelters every year. But she said she felt morally compelled to do what she could, as an individual, to help those she could, even if they were so far away.
When Dillon arrived at the shelter near the North-South Carolina state line, after a 14-hour drive, she learned that two other rescuers who also had agreed to take about 20 dogs each had failed to show up, she said.
All the dogs were dehydrated, underfed and out in the heat with only a roof over rows of cages, she said. In addition to ticks and fleas, most were covered with feces and many had belly sores from lying in urine, she said.
Dillon -- whose family also shows dogs -- said she brought home as many as she could, but had to leave about 30 behind.
Tears again welled in her eyes as she added, "I cried all the way home."
|A Minquadale woman, from whom 61 dogs were seized last week, will not be prosecuted for cruelty, officials statedy.|
Karen Dillon, 42, faces only the other charges cited in the warrant used Friday to seize the dogs - the federal offense of interstate transportation of dogs without veterinary certification of health and violation of the state rabies inoculation and licensing law.
Her hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1 at Justice of the Peace Court 11, Hares Corner, where there is no specific time set for her case.
Capt. Elainea Wyatt, who heads the Kent County SPCA's animal control officers - contracted by the state to handle dog control - said the warrant's inclusion of cruelty was grounds for the seizure because "any time there are 61 dogs, cruelty is a concern."
But Wyatt added that, "as of this point, no cruelty charges have been placed upon her."
Early this month, Dillon said, she convinced officials of a nameless shelter in South Carolina to delay the animals' scheduled death so she could borrow a trailer and make the 14-hour drive to rescue them. Four other puppies suffering from severe dehydration - three so young their eyes weren't open - did not survive, she said.
Dillon, who said she acted as an individual animal lover and not a member of any rescue group, said she has been comforted by an outpouring of support for her effort to save the dogs - most of them puppies - that otherwise would have been killed weeks ago and that she is relieved that authorities dropped cruelty allegations that would have disqualified her from American Kennel Club participation.
|Source: delawareonline.com - July 24, 2007|
Update posted on Jul 24, 2007 - 8:05PM
Delaware Online - July 20, 2007
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