She's baaacccckkkk. Just when we thought the horror had finally stopped, we found out that Angie Potter - Waggs and Wishes - is back in business.
Considering her years long history of abandoning and neglecting dogs we have no reason to believe that this time around will be any different.
Some of the dogs she abandoned last year are still waiting for homes. Vets, kennels and fosters are still waiting for payment and/or reimbursement. Many dogs would still be waiting for veterinary care if we and other rescues had not stepped in. Yet, instead of paying her existing debts and making amends to those who bailed out and cared for the dogs she neglected and abandoned, she's taking in MORE DOGS and her enablers are still encouraging her.
The cycle of rescue/neglect/abandon must stop and we will continue to work toward that end.
For those of you who haven't heard, tomorrow is D-Day for the dogs Waggs has at a boarding facility. Due to unpaid bills totaling many thousands of dollars, the boarding facility simply can't afford to continue to pay for the care and upkeep of these forgotten dogs. As I understand it, unless real rescues take the dogs from the boarding kennel by 8pm tomorrow they will be sent to the county shelter. The chances of them making it to the adoption area at the shelter are very slim at best. We'll never know how many may die tomorrow or next week or the week after that. We can only hope that if their lives are ended that they have a peaceful passing. For them at least, the suffering will be over.
For the rest that are still waiting for veterinary care, their pain will continue. I'm certain that Gretchen isn't the only heartworm positive dog that Waggs has/had. Every day that goes by without treatment more damage is done. The dogs that test a strong positive can't move oxygenated blood as a heartworm free dog does. This causes them to struggle for air and become lethargic. Eventually the heartworms win and the dog will die a slow, terrifying, painful death. What about all the puppies that still haven't been dewormed? Slowly but surely their intestines are being eaten away. The longer the pups go untreated the more likely they will have additional problems. For the cost of a couple beers on St. Patricks Day, you could have dewormed an entire litter several times.
Angie, once again I'm asking you to PLEASE SHUT DOWN and stay away from rescue. You don't know what you're doing and you've proven over and over again that you don't care to learn. You're causing more suffering for the dogs and for the people who end up cleaning up after you.
I read your 'apology' Angie. Boy, I called that one now didn't I. More of the same - feel sorry for Angie and she'll do better next time. What's just as sickening is that she still has people supporting her. What the hell are you people thinking? Dogs are sick. Some may be killed tomorrow. She has no way to support the rescue. Other rescues had to clean up after her. Foster homes are overwhelmed with dogs and paying for their care or not providing any care. She's been thrown out of two shelters. How can you turn a blind eye to all the carnage Waggs leaves in their wake??
GRETCHEN WOULD BE DEAD NOW IF WE HADN'T TAKEN HER AND THE PUPS.
That simple fact alone should cause you to have nightmares. But it won't. Hey, out of sight, out of mind. No matter that this wonderful dog went through hell. No big deal that Max may lose a leg (again BECAUSE OF WAGGS). Who cares. Angie will just go get another boatload of dogs and you'll all be so caught up in the save that last weeks dogs will too be forgotten. It's time to wake up, take off the tin foil hat and rose colored glasses, and see the reality of the situation. Waggs is NOT a real rescue, never has been and never will be.
*** 3/6/12 Update
From the bottom of my heart I extend my thanks and gratitude to Channel 4, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and all the caring people who took the time to make a call (and please, keep making those calls!) and helped get the truth about Waggs and Wishes out!!!
For those that missed the newscast here's the link
I'm still overwhelmed with the amount of emails I continue to get and I apologize for not having the time to respond to all of them - I need to spend as much time as possible being hands on with my dogs, fund raising, working full time, and once in a while I like to sleep.
To every foster home that has been stuck with trying to care for Waggs dogs and find a way to come up the money to vet them, I wish you all the best. Although it's doubtful that you'll ever see a penny from Waggs, getting a judgement in small claims is something to consider, but hey, I'm not a lawyer so I'm just expressing an opinion here. Do NOT feel guilty about it if you choose to file a claim!! YOU did nothing wrong! It's simple really, you are owed money and you have a legal right to collect it. DO NOT allow Angie or her minions to convince you that you are somehow hurting the dogs if you decide to go to court. YOU didn't choose to have the dogs abandoned in your care. YOU didn't decide that South Carolina's dogs were more important than the dogs already being neglected in Michigan. YOU didn't choose to be ignored and neither did the dogs. YOU have nothing to feel guilty about, THAT all falls onto Angie.
This is far from over so stay tuned. I'll update when I can.
Another Rescue Horror Story
The longer we do rescue, the more bad rescues we learn about. For the most part, we know who's who and we network with the responsible rescues that share our beliefs, dedication and responsibility to the animals in our care. As annoyed as we get with the irresponsible rescues, we usually just stay away from them while we continue to do the right things. Every so often a particularly terrible rescue group comes to our attention. Naming names is something rarely done publicly in the rescue world. For this so-called ‘rescue' I'll gladly make an exception since not naming them would be a disservice to the public and to those who give their hard earned money to them. The truth is what it is and there's really no reason to sugar coat or hide it.
Late in the fall of 2011 Waggs and Wishes took some dogs from a junk yard in Detroit. Three hours later, one of the dogs, a pregnant female pit bull, was placed into an inexperienced foster home with four children. Waggs was in such a hurry to get Red (now known as Gretchen) out, they didn't bother to temperament test or take Gretchen to a vet. Even asking for the foster's address was an after thought.
A couple of weeks later Gretchen delivered twelve puppies. Five of them died but Waggs still didn't think Gretchen or her pups needed to see a vet. They didn't think Gretchen and her pups needed to see the vet the next week either. Or the week after that. Or the week after that. Animal Advocates of Michigan found out about Gretchen and her pups when the pups were already three weeks old. We offered then to take them into our rescue and get them the care they needed. Waggs refused our help.
When the pups were six weeks old, we found out that Waggs wasn't returning the foster's calls for help and still hadn't provided any vet care for Gretchen and the pups. As far as we were concerned, Waggs had abandoned the dogs and their foster relinquished them to us. We vaccinated and dewormed the pups and had Gretchen at our vet's office within 48 hours. Upon walking in the door, our vet saw and later confirmed that she had mastitis. Because she was nursing puppies, we could only vaccinate her against Rabies and have a heartworm test done in addition to putting her on antibiotics to fight the mastitis.
Unfortunately, Gretchen tested positive for heartworm.
We decided to wean the pups a little early so Gretchen could quickly begin the treatment for heartworm. We would have preferred to keep the pups with Gretchen for a while longer, but the medication used to kill heartworms can pass through a mother's milk and kill the pups, so we couldn't allow them to nurse any longer. (NOTE: the puppies are NOT at risk of getting heartworm from Gretchen.)
The following week Gretchen was taken to our vet for her first heartworm treatment. Our vet also ran blood work to make sure her kidney and liver functions were ok. They were. The treatment process begins with two very painful injections spaced 24 hours apart. Six weeks after this series, she'll receive another injection. The injections are given deep into the muscles of the lower back. Many dogs do not handle this well. Gretchen was a model patient.
Even though she had received medication to control her pain, several days after her second injection Gretchen had a bit of a meltdown. While her foster mom was out Gretchen escaped from her kennel, chewed a door and eventually got back in with her puppies. The pups were very happy to see her and in their excitement likely began climbing on her. With her back muscles being extremely sore and in spasms, Gretchen did not react positively to this. We were very worried that Gretchen might not react positively to us either, but we had to get the pups away from her. That evening, while Gretchen stayed quiet in her kennel, we gathered the traumatized puppies and removed them from the only home they had known. After the last pup was taken, Gretchen cautiously came out of her kennel, gave us a brief tail wag, and seemed to be grateful for having peace and quiet.
The next day Gretchen was back to being her calm self and was fully enjoying the extra love and pampering her foster family gave her. Gretchen is not out of the woods yet and won't be for many months. She's also not yet passed the risk of developing pneumonia from the die off of the heartworms. Although the mastitis has cleared up, her uterus is probably still infected. If she was a healthy dog, we would immediately have her spayed. But, since she's undergoing heartworm treatment, there's a great chance that the anesthesia would kill her. She's currently on antibiotics to control the infection and our hope is that she'll remain stable while she recovers from the heartworm treatment. We'll have her spayed and she'll have some dental work done as soon as our vet clears her for surgery.
The puppies were unnaturally quiet after we took them from Gretchen and we were concerned for their welfare but after 24 hours in their new foster home they were mostly back to their normal, obnoxious puppy behavior. It was at this time that we became certain that Max was favoring his right hind leg and had significant swelling in his stifle. He, along with his brothers and sisters, was taken to the vet for an exam, more vaccines and more deworming. Even though we began a deworming protocol immediately after taking possession of the pups, they were still carrying a heavy parasite load. This wasn't shocking news considering that the pups should have been dewormed at about two weeks of age with additional dewormings every 10 - 14 days. In essence, they had missed two or three dewormings due to Waggs not providing appropriate and routine care.
Max's exam did not go well. Our vet's initial assessment was that one of three things was going on - either a fracture, a soft tissue injury or an infection. We decided to cover all the bases and started him on a ten day course of antibiotics while keeping his activity to a minimum and scheduling a reevaluation in four weeks. Max learned the sound the bottle of antibiotics makes. When he hears it he comes to me and sits for his pill. Anyone who's ever raised a puppy knows how challenging it is to keep an outgoing nine week old puppy quiet but I'm doing my best to entertain Max without allowing him to exert himself. After five days on antibiotics there was no improvement at all. Throughout this time Max remained a happy puppy and didn't act like he was in any pain.. Instead of waiting, we took him back to the vet just one week later for x-rays.
Max thought it was stupid that he had to lay quietly on his back while his leg was positioned for the x-rays, but he did it anyway - typical Max. While the x-rays were being developed Max enjoyed having some freedom and explored every inch of the vet's office. I've known our vet for over 20 years and I've never seen him with the expression on his face that he had when he called me back in to look at the x-rays. I immediately knew the news was going to be bad, but I was devastated when I found out just how bad things are for Max. I've rescued and rehabbed injured animals (both large and small) for decades. I've seen a lot of ugly x-rays but I was absolutely horrified when I saw Max's.
Max has/had an infection that has eaten away much of the bone in his upper right hind leg. This didn't happen in the short that we had him under our care. It's most likely that he was born with the infection and there's a very high probability that if Waggs had vetted the pups when they were born like a responsible rescue would have, the infection could have been diagnosed and cleared with a course or two of antibiotics. Since Waggs is NOT a responsible rescue Max may lose his life. I am beyond angry, I'm absolutely furious. (I apologize to my vet, his assistant, and everyone who was in the office on Saturday morning for my mini-meltdown.)
Although our vet recommended euthanasia, he's going to get another opinion for us. Max's x-rays will be sent to an orthopedic specialist on Monday, February 20th. I hope to hear back from him/them by the end of the week. In the meantime, I'll be spending every spare minute reading everything I can find on this type of infection and what other options, if any, might be available. The thought of having to euthanize a puppy who hasn't even had a chance to live life yet is weighing very heavily on me.
Amputation may be a possibility, but I need to find out if this type of infection is localized or if it can spread to other areas. Even if we pursue this possible option Max will not live a normal life nor will he live a normal lifespan. Because he's a wide bodied dog he would have to position his remaining hind leg well under the center of his body to maintain his balance. This will cause a lot of wear and tear on the joints which will in turn cause him pain which will eventually lead to the decision to euthanize him. The probability of such a terrible outcome is overwhelming.
There are so many variables and things to consider but for now we can only take one day at a time. Dogs live in the moment and I hope I can somehow make each of Max's moments joyful, happy ones. Remarkably Max still doesn't act like he's in pain. He limps since his bad leg is shorter than the good one, but he still uses that leg. He's learned to escape from his pen and is always so proud of himself when he comes galloping through the house to find me. He plays with his toys and enjoys supervised playtime with his quiet and gentle sisters.
Another update will be posted as soon as we know more.
An Open Letter to WAGGS
You are not a rescue in any sense of the word.
You do not put the welfare of the animals first.
You need to forever shut down.
A rescue's responsibility doesn't end with the initial save. It's ‘rescues' like yours that give all of us a bad name. You dumped Gretchen on a first time foster and completely ignored the foster's many calls for help. You also ignored the critical veterinary needs of Gretchen and her puppies. A good rescue would never do such outrageously stupid things. This foster went above and beyond and did all she could to keep Gretchen and her pups safe and happy while you did absolutely nothing other than continue to engage in unethical, possibly illegal, behavior which, if I understand correctly, has lead to more than one lawsuit against you.
We reputable and responsible rescues bust our asses every single day to make sure the animals we take in receive the best care we can possibly give them. We don't consider our animals a drain on our personal time and we don't ignore our fosters. We don't place pregnant, un-vetted dogs with unknown temperaments into first-time inexperienced foster homes, especially one with four children. Thankfully, Gretchen has proved herself to be every thing pit bulls are supposed to be - kind, friendly and gentle. But, you didn't know this when you dumped her.
After a life in a junk yard and not being socialized she could have had serious issues which could have put her foster and her children in danger along with the fosters other pets. One has to wonder if this is exactly why there was no paper trail linking you to Gretchen. Did you forgo having a foster contract in place just to avoid any potential liability if the worst had happened? Or, was it out of complete ignorance/stupidity and lack of caring about where Gretchen ended up? You didn't know anything about this foster. She could have been fighting dogs in her basement for all you knew since you didn't even bother performing an in depth interview let alone a home visit. But then, doing so would have taken time away from your personal life. Guess what? RESCUE ISN'T ABOUT YOU, IT'S ABOUT THE DOGS.
Your inability to properly operate a rescue and provide appropriate care for the animals you've taken in has caused you to be thrown out of every shelter you were at. This should be a huge clue to you that you need to shut down. Sadly, it won't happen. Like so many others, you'll just regroup, post a bs apology, and keep on doing exactly the same stupid things while the animals suffer in your care or lack thereof.
Do you truly want to help animals? The best thing you can do is stay away from them. The damage you inadvertently cause to real rescues and the direct damage you cause to the animals you abandon in foster homes is immeasurable. Even though we've spent $1,000 so far caring for Gretchen, Max and the rest of the litter in four short weeks, we are forever grateful to their foster for contacting us and for continuing to care for and about Gretchen and her pups. We'll find a way to come up with the balance of the funds needed to continue to provide excellent care. WE won't let our foster down like you did and we'll do everything possible to make sure Gretchen and her pups find forever homes.
We won't sell the pups on the weekends to whoever shows up with cash. As is our policy, we'll hold meet and greets, interview potential adopters, review applications, perform pre and post adoption home visits, enforce our adoption, spay/neuter contract and we'll be here for our dogs for the rest of their lives if they ever need us again. Our dogs leave with their vet records and our vet is available for our adopters to talk to. We don't cut and run like you do. We don't pocket the money like so many others do. Every penny we take in from donations, fund raisers and adoption fees is used strictly for our rescues. Not one red cent goes to me, my BOD, or my volunteers.
I would say that you should hang your head in shame, but the ability to feel shame requires a conscious, which is something I strongly doubt that you have. It's time for you to do the right thing - shut down and stop pretending to be something you clearly aren't - a rescuer.