Monday, May 14, 2012
Parker County animal rescuer not rescuing after all
People like Teresa Weldon make no-kill shelters look bad.
Last Wednesday, 58 dogs were seized by Parker County authorities from a residence in the 900 block of Lynch Bend Road. According to the sheriff’s office, 31 dogs were living in crates inside the residence in their own urine and feces. Some of the crates were stacked on top of each other, and many were without food and water. The 27 outdoor dogs didn’t fare much better. “Several outdoor pens containing puppies were filled with animal feces, urine and vomit,” according to Parker County Animal Control Supervisor Karen Kessler, who called it “the worst level of unsanitary conditions.” Two dogs, one just a puppy, had to be euthanized due to severe neglect and health conditions, according to a news release from the Parker County sheriff’s office.
In the news release, the owner of the residence is identified as Teresa Weldon. Teresa is the founder of Four Paws and Hooves Animal Rescue. According to their website, they are a completely foster-based rescue: “We save animals from being put to sleep at our local shelters. Our founder is a certified Animal Control Officer that decided that she would rather be on this side of the animal world.” Unconfirmed reports are that Weldon once worked for Everman Animal Control, but was let go when an unusual number of animals began dying in her care. Everman Animal Control officials have not responded to our questions.
Just six months ago, Duncanville officials arrested Mary Colleen Cotton-Ogden on animal cruelty charges after finding 102 dogs and six cats living in unsanitary conditions with feces and urine. Investigators reported the animals were kept in urine-soaked wire cages and were not receiving proper food, water, or care. According to the Dallas Morning News, Ogden was also “rescuing” animals from local animal shelters through the organization she founded, Elliot’s Friends Animal Rescue.
Then just last month, 209 animals — 197 dogs and 12 cats — were seized from the non-profit, no-kill, Friends of Uvalde Animal Shelter in Uvalde, TX, amid allegations of medical concerns and filthy, overcrowded cages. Two videos, one of the dogs at the shelter and another of the cats, taken by an anonymous shelter employee, show piles of dead animals at various states of decomposition, as well as flea-infested dogs and cats living in filthy, unsanitary, and unsafe conditions. Uvalde County officials had been making monthly payments totaling $2,500 per year to the Friends of Uvalde Animal Shelter under an agreement that appears to be similar to those popular in other municipalities who have contracted out their animal sheltering services in exchange for promises of a no-kill shelter. Those payments have been suspended.
So how does this happen? According to Fox News, “Weldon had been allowed to adopt animals from an unidentified out-of-county animal shelter without a proper background check.” According to Stacy Smith, vice president, Animal Advocacy for the Humane Society of Flower Mound, “There is enormous pressure being put on animal shelters these days … constant criticism, constant accusations that they kill for convenience, networking tons of dogs over FB to desperately find any place for them to go … and you can see why shelters are under pressure to turn animals over to anyone with a 501c3 in order to reduce their euthanasia numbers. Everyone from the shelters to the people pressuring them to the rescuer-turned-hoarder has good intentions, but the result is still animals suffering because people thought any life was better than no life. It’s why we have to approach the idea of no kill VERY carefully and make sure we are doing it right.”
Weldon was arrested at the scene on an outstanding warrant and faces multiple pending charges of animal cruelty. She also faces possible child endangerment charges. A 1-year-old male infant was discovered in a crib in one of the rooms which was surrounded by animal feces. The child was not Weldon’s and his mother picked him up after being contacted by the sheriff’s office.
People like Weldon, Ogden, and the folks responsible for the Friends of Uvalde Animal Shelter aren’t doing anyone any favors. They’re making no-kill look bad, and they’re making rescuers look bad. We as rescuers should be held to higher standard and to serve as an example for other pet owners. We should not be on the news because we have good intentions but no ability to know when to stop.
Pegasus News Content partner - DFW Animal Rescue