Puppy, Kitten from Recent Transports Died
Desiderata Rescue is illegally sending sick puppies and kittens from Texas and Oklahoma to Washington.
At least one puppy and one kitten from each of its last 2 transports to Washington died.
In May, a puppy developed Parvovirus immediately after its adoption. Another puppy on that transport died from parvo.
And last month, a couple had to put down a kitten adopted from Desiderata Rescue due to complications from Fading Kitten Syndrome.
Furthermore, some of the kittens Desiderata Rescue sends here are less than 6 weeks old. Kittens should be at least 8-weeks-old before they can be adopted.
As I recently wrote, Desiderata Rescue operated illegally in Washington for years before founder Miriam Kelly moved to Oklahoma last year.
Ms. Kelly founded Desiderata Rescue in Texas. Any rescue that sends animals to Washington must be registered in the state even though it may be registered in another state.
Ms. Kelly never bothered to register the group in Washington and didn’t follow Washington’s disclosure rules for charitable organizations.
Now she runs the rescue out of Oklahoma, but she hasn’t registered in Washington and continues to send dogs and cats here illegally.
Furthermore, the IRS revoked Desiderata’s 501(c)(3) charity status about a year ago because Ms. Kelly didn’t send the agency annual reports for 3 consecutive years.
Yet until recently, Desiderata Rescue’s website continued to fraudulently claim that it was a charity and contributions to it were tax deductible.
Puppy with Parvovirus
In April Ms. Kelly sent several puppies with other dogs and cats on a transport from Oklahoma to Washington. Twelve of the puppies were Great Pyrenees mixes.
A family in Western Washington adopted one of these puppies whose name was Leo. They met the transport on April 17th to pick him up.
When they got Leo the person driving the van told them that “one of the puppies from another litter had died from parvo. My puppy started getting sick yesterday afternoon. I rushed him to the vet this AM and he had a strong positive for parvo.”
If not treated in its early stages, parvo can be fatal, especially in puppies.
The incubation periods for parvo is about 6-10 days after exposure, so Leo contracted the virus before Ms. Kelly put him on the transport.
Vaccinated Puppies Can Still Get Parvovirus
Puppies should get their initial parvo vaccine when they are 6-8 weeks old. They get the second vaccine at 10-12 weeks. They should get the last vaccine at 14-16 weeks.
Ms. Kelly claimed all the puppies were “current on shots.” Technically that could be true since they were the age for getting their first vaccination.
However, most experts say puppies should not be around unvaccinated dogs until they have had ALL their parvo vaccinations:
VetStreet.com: “Don’t expose your puppy to other dogs or public places until he’s had vaccinations. Most puppies don’t get them until they are 15 to 16 weeks of age.”
AMVA: “Until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, pet owners should use caution when bringing their pet to places where young puppies congregate.”
PetMD.com: “High-risk breeds may require a longer initial vaccination period of up to 22 weeks. During this time, your puppy should only socialize in private areas with fully vaccinated dogs.”
Ms. Kelly keeps dogs at her home or with fosters before putting them on the transport. The dogs are from Oklahoma and/or Texas.
I don’t know if she keeps Desiderata’s puppies away from unvaccinated dogs or not, but she apparently doesn’t do it uniformly because, as the van driver said, one of the puppies had already died from parvo.
She also squeezes as many crates in a van as possible. Puppies not fully vaccinated could easily be exposed to parvo during the drive from Texas to Oklahoma or Oklahoma to Washington.
This video was taken by the couple who adopted the 2 sick kittens from Desiderata Rescue. You can see the crates are stacked 3-high.
This was the van’s third drop-off of the day so the van had more animals when it left Oklahoma.
Families Suffer Financially, Emotionally
Parvo doesn’t just affect puppies. Families that adopt an infected puppy endure emotional trauma of watching their new puppy suffer and possibly die.
They also have to spend thousands of dollars in vet bills. Leo’s family spent about $2500 for his treatment. He survived, fortunately.
At least one other puppy wasn’t so lucky, and the chance that other infected dogs rode on that transport are pretty high.
Kittens Too Young for Adoption
I normally don’t write about cats, but the death of a kitten Desiderata Rescue put on its transport last month is another example how casually and irresponsibly the rescue transports its animals.
In April a woman in Kitsap County adopted two kittens from Desiderata Rescue. Ms. Kelly said they were six weeks old. When the woman picked up the kittens in Tacoma on Friday, June 12, she immediately noticed something wrong.
Here’s what she wrote on a community Facebook page: “It was apparent they were not six weeks old and were very small. One had diarrhea with blood.
Ms. Kelly shipped them in a van floor to ceiling with cages of dogs, puppies, and kittens frantically barking and meowing and had been on the road for three days.”
She told me that the smaller kitten “was covered in diarrhea on her backside and tail. She started pooping bloody diarrhea that night.”
The vet who examined this kitten said she only weighed 3/4 of a pound and estimated she was four-weeks-old. The other kitten she adopted weighed a pound.
Over the next few days her condition deteriorated and she developed a number of health problems. The adopter decided to put her down on June 16 after the vet told her the kitten wouldn’t recover.
The vet said the cause of death was Fading Kitten Syndrome, which is “a set of symptoms….. associated with a failure to thrive in neonatal kittens. Fading kitten syndrome is not a single disease. It can have many underlying causes, many of which lead to rapidly declining health, or even death.”
Several things can cause Fading Kitten Syndrome, including “environmental factors, congenital defects, parasites, bacterial or viral infections, and even human error in hand-raising kittens,” says Ellen Carozza, a licensed veterinary technician and a fading kitten expert from NOVA Cat Clinic in Arlington, Virginia.
Ms. Kelly does hand-raise some of her kittens but I have no idea how she raised this kitten. And since the kitten traveled in a van filled to the brim with dogs and cats for a couple of days, a number of factors could have caused Fading Kitten Syndrome.
Desiderata Rescue Misled Adopter About Kittens’ Ages
One possible contributing factor to the kittens’ health problems is that they were too young for adoption. Ms. Kelly claimed they were six-weeks-old, but vet that examined them said they were much younger, possibly as young as 4-weeks-old.
According to VetMD.com, a 6-week-old kitten should weigh 1.4 – 1.7 pounds. The euthanized kitten only weighed 3/4 of a pound and the other one weighed a pound.
Their weights bolster the vet’s opinion they were less than 6-weeks-old.
The kitten that survived also developed diarrhea and still needs medical treatment. So far, the family that adopted these kittens spent over $2000 on veterinary bills.
Rescues Cannot Transport Puppies and Kittens Less Than 8 Weeks Old
Even if the kittens were actually six-weeks-old, they still would have been too young for adoption. Virtually every reputable source I found said kittens shouldn’t be adopted until they are at least eight weeks old.
Furthermore, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Regulations, Section 2.130, “No dog or cat shall be delivered by any person to any carrier or intermediate handler for transportation, in commerce, or shall be transported in commerce by any person, except to a registered research facility, unless such dog or cat is at least eight (8) weeks of age and has been weaned.“
Ms. Kelly claimed the kittens she sent in June were six weeks old. This violated the USDA’s rule regarding the minimum age for transporting dogs and cats.
Some people claim it is unavoidable that some animal rescues lose dogs or cats due to factors beyond their control. Based on my experience I don’t think that’s true.
I’ve known rescues that never lose any of their animals due to extensive protocols they put in place to ensure their animals are healthy.
Of course, having an animal die doesn’t automatically mean a rescue did something wrong. Sometimes a situation is truly beyond their control.
My concern is with rescues that don’t have best standard procedures and practices in place don’t give their animals the best opportunity thrive at the rescue and in their new homes.
Desiderata Rescue is Operating Illegally and Irresponsibly
In my opinion, Desiderata Rescue doesn’t take the measures required to be ensure the health all its animals.
And because Ms. Kelley hasn’t provide financial data to the IRS no one know how much money she makes or where it goes.
I’ve written before that most people run animal rescues responsibly and transparently. Ms. Kelly isn’t one of them.
Remember that just because a rescue is on Adopt-a-Pet and Petfinder doesn’t mean it operates responsibility. You should still do your research on any rescue before you adopt from it.
In my opinion, getting animals from her is about the same as buying them from someone selling them out of the back of their truck on the side of the road.
If you’re ready to adopt a dog or cat, you will plenty of legal, reputable animal rescues in Washington.
Why adopt from a careless rescue that is operating illegally?