LEBANON, Tenn.- Better days are ahead for dozens of dogs rescued from what's
believed to be a dog fighting operation in Cheatham County. The Animal Rescue
Corps (ARC) is back in Middle Tennessee leading the efforts to nurse them back
to health after being found in deplorable conditions.
"These dogs have existed on chains their entire lives," Scotlund
Haisley, Animal Rescue Corps President, said. "Eight foot chains spinning
around with no access to fresh water or food."
After years of abuse and neglect, one look into their puppy-dog eyes shows
they're hungry for love and attention.
"There [are] pressure wounds on their pelvic area from sitting on hard
dirt, and they have no meat on their bones," Amy Haverstick, New Leash On
Life Director, explained.
Saturday, ARC along with an army of volunteers rescued 65 dogs, mainly pit
bulls, from an Ashland City home.
"You do your job; you get them out; then you cry later,"
Haverstick said about the experience.
Firefighters first discovered the dogs Thanksgiving evening, when responding
to a brush fire on the property. They called for back-up in what's suspected to
be an organized dog fighting and breeding operation. A treadmill, fighting pen
and a spring pole used to strengthen dogs' jaws were found by Cheatham County
Animal Control on the property.
Based in the Washington D.C. area and California, ARC has conducted seven
rescues in the Middle Tennessee area in the last two years.
"We've certainly been in Tennessee far more than any other state,"
Haisley said. "A lot of people suggest that there's a lot more cruelty in Tennessee,
and that is not the case."
Haisley says they're here because law enforcement is proactive and smaller
counties don't have the money or space to handle such a large scale rescue.
"I don't know what [we would] do," Haverstick said when asked what
local organizations would do without ARC. "Cheatham County Animal Control
is the same way. They wouldn't have anywhere to put them. Even the animal
controls here in Wilson County couldn't do it."
But together from Home Depot employees building sturdy pens, to the animal-loving
volunteers putting in long hours, the worst days for these dogs are behind
Unlike previous rescues, this time Federal agents are involved, but it's
still not known if charges will be filed.
According to ARC, large scale rescues can cost anywhere between $25,000 to
$75,000. Usually they have some time to fundraise before getting on site, but
in this case they were in Tennessee less than 24 hours after being called.
That's why they're asking for donations either on their website at www.animalrescuecorps.org or at
the warehouse located at 200 Carver Lane, Lebanon, TN.