Volunteers from the Oregon Humane Society returned last week from a cross-country trip helping dogs seized in a multi-state dogfighting raid.

The three-year investigation initiated by the Auburn, Ala., police resulted in ten arrests and the seizure on August 23 of 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. Skilled volunteers from around the country, including two groups from OHS, have been working at an ASPCA emergency shelter in the southern US where the dogs receive veterinary care and behavior enrichment.

The emergency shelter, the location of which is not being disclosed while the legal case proceeds, houses approximately 280 dogs. Volunteer teams from shelters throughout the country spend one week feeding dogs, cleaning kennels and providing basic behavior training. Special behavior teams work with the dogs in the hopes of eventually finding them permanent homes.

"This was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done," said Kayte Wolf, a member of the first OHS volunteer team to work at the shelter. Wolf and the other OHS volunteers had previously completed special training in emergency animal sheltering. Working at the dog-fighting shelter gave them a first-hand look at creating an emergency shelter from the ground up and caring for special-needs animals.

The first group of OHS volunteers worked at the emergency shelter from October 12 -18 and included Merna Marriott, Malyia Pladziewicz and Wolf. A second group, which returned to OHS Nov. 1, included Sherry Adams, Todd Cabrera, Candace Bailey, Stacy Rust, Lynne Jones and John Thoeni.

Photo courtesy: Oregon Humane Society