In Greenback, Tennessee, two dogs rescued from Hurricane Florence in a school bus were shot and killed last week by a neighbor who stated a fight had broken out with four dogs that had been in a pen together.
The dogs had been part of a rescue operation by Tony Alsup, 51, who drove a school bus to hurricane ravaged areas and picked up pets in need. More than 60 dogs and cats had been rescued, and they were all to be sent to shelters in other states for adoption.
According to WvltNews, Alsup had four dogs rescued from the Saint Frances Animal Center staying at his home for a night. Two of the dogs were shot on October 19 and one other dog was injured. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office report stated two of the dogs were attacking a third dog. Alsup’s wife and young grandchild were home at the time and tried to break up the fight, but were not able – even spraying the one dog with a hose. Animal Control was not able to come over; instead a neighbor came over and shot the dogs stating he saved the third pup. Devon Smith, the executive director of St. Frances Animal Center in Georgetown, South Carolina had already been suspicious not having heard any news about the dogs’ welfare. She was not told what happened until days later.
Saint Frances Animal Center wrote about the heartbreaking situation on their Facebook page:
“…As we updated you during the hurricane, we evacuated dogs with the help of many rescue groups. This included a transporter that we had not worked with prior to the hurricane. We made calls to verify that other groups had worked with this person, and questioned him about his plan for the dogs. We then followed up post-hurricane, to make sure we knew where our animals were, and that they were safe. It was not enough, and that will haunt us.
This transporter, whom we had not been familiar with previously, was unable to tell us where the dogs were after the storm. Through lots of calls and sleuthing, we were able to find where most of them went ourselves. And we were working to have 8 of those dogs returned to us, as they were delivered to groups who had, as we later found out, not agreed to or been able to take them permanently.”
Four of the dogs, Whiskey, Humphrey, Mandy and Domino had been at the foster home as the rescue had been working on details to get the dogs returned. That’s when the tragedy occurred.
“On Friday, the foster transported Whiskey, Humphrey, Mandy, and Domino to the original transporter’s property, until they could come back to us. We were not aware of this transfer in advance. When they arrived at the original transporter’s house, Whiskey, Humphrey, and Domino were put in a small pen together, in spite of the foster advising against this plan. These dogs were not housed together at our shelter, or at the foster’s house, so they are not familiar with each other. They were in a strange place, with people they didn’t yet know. They were in a constricted space. Domino had been ill. You can imagine how scary and stressful it was for them. As any of you who are familiar with dogs knows, this is simply not safe or humane dog handling.”
That is when the fight broke out. As the foster and neighbors were not familiar with dog behavior and fighting, Humphrey and Whiskey were shot and killed.
“Video suggests that the dogs were not fighting when they were shot.
Fortunately, the foster who had cared for all four of the dogs for the last month returned to the house and saved Domino, and he is safe in her care. Mandy is still at the house where Whiskey and Humphrey were killed. We are doing our best to have her returned to us immediately, but unfortunately, the original transporter is so far refusing to do so. Her safety is our top priority right now. We have been in contact with the Sheriff’s Dept and Animal Control in the county where this happened.”
The tragic deaths of Humphrey and Whiskey have deeply affected the rescue, and they have pledged to review processes in disaster situations as not to make the same mistake of trusting someone they didn’t know. Domino had bites on his front legs, head and throat and is currently recovering. Mandy is reported to be in a safe location and both dogs are expected to return to the South Carolina on Sunday.
Rest in peace.
(Photos of dogs killed after being rescued from Hurricane Florence via Facebook)
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