This article is a followup to the one I posted on April 10 reporting that a Tacoma woman named Shawna claimed PURRR Rescue stole her dogs.
On February 28th, Shawna was outside a Tacoma Ace Hardware with her two kids and two dogs. She was waiting for a ride to a shelter because she had been a victim of domestic violence the previous night.
PURRR Rescue founder Diana VanDusen was holding an adoption event nearby and offered to take her dogs until she found a place to live, and Shawna gave her the dogs.
Earlier this month Shawna was ready to take her dogs back, but after multiple attempts to reach VanDusen a representative of PURRR Rescue said the dogs had been sent to another rescue and Shawna couldn’t have them back.
I now have a statement from a witness who was volunteering with PURRR at the adoption event and heard VanDusen specifically say that she would give the dogs back to Shawna after she “got back on her feet.” Here’s her complete statement:
“I was at the adoption event on the day Diana VanDusen took in the two pits. One male and one female. The woman that owned the dogs was standing in front of the store with Diana and I. She was waiting for a ride to a shelter. She stated the night before that there was some type of domestic violence that had gone on. I did not ask specifics. Diana stated she would help the women by keeping the dogs for her and then give them back when she got back on her feet. She told the women if the police took the dogs in that they would be killed. Diana also stated she would get them spayed and neutered for her and pointed to where her vet clinic was across the parking lot in the same shopping complex. The women was very thankful. She stated she did not know what she would do without her dogs, that they were here children’s best friends.
The dogs were loaded into crates and put into Diana’s Van.”
The woman who sent me the statement also said that if this case ever went to court she would testify that VanDusen promised to give back the dogs.
Assuming this is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then in my opinion, PURRR Rescue has no right to keep Shawna’s dogs.
And there is no question PURRR has/had the dogs. Someone speaking on behalf of VanDusen named Debbie Eggart told Shawna PURRR no longer had the dogs because they gave them to another rescue. Other PURRR supporters acknowledged the group had the dogs.
I have no idea if PURRR Rescue still has the dogs or not, but I believe they had no right to keep them or give them to another group. While VanDusen should have provided, or Shawna should have asked for, documentation saying PURRR was taking the dogs for her temporarily, an eyewitness has stepped forward confirming Shawna’s story.
I’ve written several times that I don’t believe PURRR is a reputable, responsible rescue, and refusing to give Shawna’s dogs back to her is just the latest in a long list of questionable behavior exhibited by VanDusen and PURRR.
Since last December I’ve written that Diana has had numerous run-ins with animal control in multiple jurisdictions, was denied a business license by the city of Lakewood because, among other things, she had “engaged and is likely to continue to engage in illegal activity,” adopted out dogs that have killed multiple pets and mauled a six-year old, and has kept about 2 dozen dogs in boarding or kennels for over a year.
Now it appears that VanDusen took 2 dogs from a vulnerable single mom.
I have yet to find another dog rescue group in Washington that have had so many problems with animal control and law enforcement or adopted out multiple dogs that killed pets and attacked a kid.
This is not how legitimate rescues conduct themselves.
If VanDusen has an ounce of credibility left she will give Shawna back her dogs.
Here’s a short video of Thor the witness took after he was loaded into a crate inside VanDusen’s car.