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From 19 June 2005 Issue

The SPCA of Texas: A Volunteer's Perspective
By Pamela Bertsch - Pjdallas426@aol.com
Frisco, Texas

A few weeks ago I could hardly wait to sit down to watch the ABC 20/20 feature piece about the SPCA of Texas. The ABC cameras had been on site at the SPCA for a few months last fall. The crew told me they were doing a piece about how the SPCA of Texas rescues animals from deplorable living conditions and also about the horrors of puppy mills. I had been a volunteer for the SPCA of Texas for two years by that time and had seen animals go from hopeless to happy lives thanks to the hard work of the SPCA of Texas and their rescues. I remember Dave Garcia, VP of the SPCA of Texas telling me about how they were going to try to do a rescue once a month for a while. I told him over and over how much respect I had for him and the SPCA of Texas. Some of my friends have adopted dogs from the rescues. Some of the animals can't walk very well because of the tight confinement at the puppy mills, but are doing better each day. When I look at these animals I just think to myself that if it weren't for the SPCA of Texas they would still be in miserable, unhappy conditions. To my dismay instead of the 20/20 piece being about the SPCA of Texas and its admirable rescues, it was actually turned upside down to make the SPCA of Texas out to be the criminal, not the animal abusers. 20/20 said that the SPCA of Texas took animals from people to make money for themselves! They made it look like the SPCA of Texas convinced the judge to award them the animals even though they weren't in that bad of condition. I must also say that John Stossel never once visited the SPCA of Texas during the process. John Stossel worked hard to try to make Dave Garcia out to be a liar. Dave stood his ground in a very nice manner.

One of the greatest experiences I've had at the SPCA of Texas was helping with a 300-dog rescue they conducted from a puppy mill near Wills Point Texas. Most of the dogs had no teeth. Many of their eyes were cloudy from improper nutrition. Some were blind. When I got to the warehouse where the runs were set up I couldn't believe my eyes! It was like pure Hell in there! The smell was unlike anything I'd ever smelled. The empty cages these dogs were kept in for sometimes up to 10 years were piled high against the wall. I looked at all the dogs and most of them had been kept four or five to a small cage. They had lived on a grated cage floor and some didn't have fur on their tails because it was all rubbed off. I was there to bathe the dogs so if the SPCA of Texas got awarded them they'd be ready to be spayed and neutered and put up for adoption. The dogs were so sweet, but you could tell they never had any love or fun. They liked being talked to nicely, but they really didn't understand what it was. I put down bedding in their cages and started to clean them. They just looked at me quietly, but they knew I was helping them. Some dogs had to have their feet soaked first just to remove the feces packed on them before their baths. After all the volunteers had bathed all of them their spirits began to rise. Such a difference in just three days! Some of the larger dogs had been tethered outside without shelter in the heat and cold all their lives. Some couldn't see, but they were such troopers. Some had a lot of trouble walking and many had arthritis; however, they all came up to get and to receive love from the volunteers that they had been so desperately in need of for so long. The dogs from this rescue were awarded to the SPCA of Texas and the animals that were adoptable all got wonderful homes.

If any of you watched the 20/20 report I hope my account of the experiences I've had at the SPCA of Texas will ensure you that 20/20 and John Stossel didn't report the truth about the organization. The SPCA of Texas doesn't need to steal animals to make money. They always have plenty of animals in need of homes. They don't need to go out and get them. The shame of it all was that at the end of the report John Stossel told everyone to be careful who you give your money to, because there are fraudulent charities out there. My heart sank.

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