In the midst of one of Washington’s wettest winters, embattled dog rescue group PURRR Rescue is keeping more than 20 dogs outdoors in kennels inside tents.
Several of the dogs were brought up from California about a year ago and most of them have lived either in boarding or kennels since they arrived in Washington.
PURRR has already faced increased scrutiny in the last several weeks:
- The Tacoma News Tribune reported in December that 3 dogs adopted from PURRR killed 2 cats and 2 dogs last summer.
- Another dog adopted from PURRR mauled a 6-year-old boy in 2013. It also bit 2 other children and their father.
- Text messages recently surfaced in which PURRR Rescue director Diana VanDusen admitted that she used a taser on the dogs.
Now, with the constant downpour of rain we’ve had in Western Washington for the last few weeks, I’m concerned how these dogs are doing.
PURRR has not hidden the fact that these dogs are living outside. They had videos showing the tents on the group’s Facebook page last month. They have since been taken down, but I still have screenshots that show how flimsy the tents look.
Based on what I see I can’t believe these tents can protect the dogs from the high winds and pounding rain we’ve experienced. Imagine how these dogs feel at night listening to the howling wind as it rattles their tents. I wonder if the tents are sturdy enough to keep them dry.
PURRR is using space heaters to keep the dogs warm. Volunteers have claimed they are using non-flammable space heaters, which is great, but what about the network of extension chords criss-crossing the area where the tents are? Is it safe to have them out in the rain? And if the space heaters are turned off when it rains for safety, what’s keeping the dogs warm?
More importantly, why does PURRR Rescue still have these dogs, most of which were rescued over a year ago?
PURRR pulled most of these dogs from high-kill shelters in California, and but bringing them to Washington is only part of work. Rescues exist to find dogs homes.
Keeping them in kennels or in boarding for months and months isn’t rescuing them, it’s putting them in storage. And it can create or exacerbate behavior problems.
Furthermore, only 8 dogs are listed for adoption on the PURRR Adopt-a-Pet page. Where are all the others, and why is PURRR still bringing dogs up from California to Washington?
Rescues have stepped forward to take some of the dogs, but Ms. VanDusen turned them away. In fact, she refuses to tell anyone other than a select few where the dogs are located.
I tried contacting Ms. VanDusen to see if the dogs were still living outside, but the email address on the website doesn’t work. I also filled out a message form on the site, but I received no response.
Until I hear from her I have to assume the dogs are still living in tents outside.
As we learned with the Olympic Animal “Sanctuary” fiasco last year, hiding dogs from the public only invites suspicion. It may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical, especially for a nonprofit charity.
Responsible rescues do not hide their dogs from the public.
Furthermore, while these dogs continue to live outside at an undisclosed location, PURRR and its supporters are still asking the public for donations.
Recently someone started a fundraising page to raise $50,000 for PURRR (it’s no longer active) with no explanation regarding how the money will be used. She started it “to see if the world can help Diana do what she loves to do.”
No one has donated any money yet, but if they do I hope they get specific details about what the money will be used for before they give.
Meanwhile, despite the fact a couple of dozen dogs are living in tents, PURRR is still asking for money to rescue more animals like this 17-year-old cat…
…even though one of the dogs living outside has a tumor hanging off its chest that should be removed.
A person who saw Miles recently said the tumor is now almost touching the ground.
Why is PURRR asking for contributions to rescue a 17-year-old cat when one of its dogs needs surgery to have a tumor removed?
It’s humane of PURRR to want to help the cat, but shouldn’t taking care of the health problems of the animals they already have be a bigger priority?
Meanwhile, it’s supposed to rain again this week in Western Washington.
I hope the dogs will be safe, warm, and dry.
Wherever they are.