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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Urgent Rescue

FUR Put a Rescue Hold on 100 Dogs

Updated: Apr 14

A group of dogs huddled in a kennel at the shelter.
More than 200 dogs were in a single home in Putnam County.

When FUR put in a rescue hold for 100 dogs, the biggest in our history, it should have been a momentous event. As it turned out, it wasn't.

Putnam County, FL was dealing with a backyard breeder turned hoarding case, with more than 200+ dogs coming in from one property. Of course, none of them were spayed or neutered, so there was rampant inbreeding, and the problem multiplied. Many of the dogs were in shocking condition from years of neglect.

Unfortunately, the County leadership took a terrible situation and made it exponentially worse. At a press conference, the County leaders publicly announced that dogs from the case would only be released to 501(c)(3) rescues. As rescues and shelters scrambled to help, the County leaders later decided to do a free adoption event, adopting out dogs from the cruelty case to the public for free. The dogs being adopted were not quarantined, they had no vet care, no heartworm tests, no fecal, no dewormer, and no microchip. They are loaded with parasites and fleas. None of them were spayed or neutered. Many of them are pregnant.

When we heard their plans, Florida Urgent Rescue put in a rescue hold yesterday for 100 dogs. That was bold and audacious. Our goal was to secure the dogs so they wouldn't need to be given away at the adoption event. We have a network of trusted rescues and shelters, many of whom we've worked with many times over the years, and we were gambling we could get enough commitments to place them all. We have some amazing partners, and we were optimistic that we could find placement for these dogs.

Nonetheless, our offer was flatly rejected. We were told that we could pull the 35 we originally requested, but we couldn't pull 100 because there were too many other rescues wanting dogs. We said "If that's the case, it doesn't seem like there is a need to give away dogs from the case as free adoptions to the general public." We suggested using the adoption event to highlight adoptable dogs who were already in the shelter and are already spayed/neutered. Needless to say, County leaders weren't interested in ideas or feedback, and they shut that idea down fast.

Many of the dogs from the case had pale gums and terrible diarrhea. Some were lethargic. Shelter staff mentioned they thought some dogs may have Coccidia. We were hoping it wasn't parvo. With no explanation why, the County Administrator and Deputy Administrator decided that these dogs could be adopted out to the public with no veterinary care beyond a cursory exam and vaccinations during the adoption event. And we all know you're not supposed to vaccinate sick dogs.

We went out this morning, along with many other rescues and shelters, and spent a frustrating day trying to rescue as many dogs as we could before the County leaders decided to give them away for free. FUR pulled 23 of the 35 dogs we expected today. The other dogs we put holds on yesterday vanished. Some were probably pulled by other rescues, but some undoubtedly went to the adoption event.

The County leaders are probably patting themselves on the back right now for a job well done. Meanwhile, everyone else is horrified and outraged. Short term, some of these dogs will get very sick. Will the people who got free adoptions be able to take them to the Emergency Vet?

Long term, the County has just enabled another larger batch of backyard breeders and accidental litters. We know from experience that very few of these adopters will actually get their newly adopted dogs fixed. Some won't get around to it. Others will decide they can make a profit by breeding and selling puppies. Every one of these dogs could have gone to reputable rescues and shelters. We're sick just thinking about it.

All we can do is try to focus on the positive. Once again Rebecca Lynch and Carson Byrnes at Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida in Orlando stepped up in a big way, taking in 19 medically needy, pregnant and special needs dogs. We brought 4 dogs into FUR, of the 10 we expected today. Numerous other partners were standing by ready to take in dogs.

A lot of people worked around the clock to help, including Valerie, Jana, Susan and everyone on our foster and adoption teams. Caroline Cozens, Jill Skopp Heyse and Joan Sosin came out to the shelter to help and to transport, and Mary Petrone held two of the dogs and later transported them. Thank you Walt & Shelli Shay and Ellen Snider for opening your homes to foster these pups. We had a LOT of other volunteers, fosters and partners who offered to help... too many to list. We are truly grateful to everyone who was willing to help.

Finally, we should clarify that the shelter staff was as surprised and shocked to learn about the free adoption event as we were. They didn't support adopting out unvetted and unsterilized dogs, either, but when the "big bosses" made up their minds, the staff members weren't given a choice.

On a day when we should be celebrating for helping to save some animals in distress, we're discouraged and outraged. All we can do now is pray that the people who adopted dogs today get them proper veterinary care ASAP, and support the rescues who are helping every day.

As we remind ourselves often, "All we can do is what we can do." Still, it's very disheartening.

To Donate:

— Venmo: @FloridaUrgentRescue

— CashApp: $FloridaUrgentRescue

— Mail: Florida Urgent Rescue

    7643 Gate Parkway #104-27

    Jacksonville, FL 32256


Sick and injured animals need help fast. Every donation helps, but Monthly donors give us flexibility to respond immediately when there is an emergency. When there is a hoarding case or a hurricane, a dog with a gunshot wound or a cruelty case, we have to act quickly. We don't have time to do a fundraiser, and wait for those funds to get to us. Your monthly donationcan help us save lives again and again. To learn more, please visit:

Florida Urgent Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and FUR earned a Four-Star Rating on Charity Navigator, the highest possible rating. FUR also received a 2023 Candid Platinum Seal of Transparency by Guidestar, and is a 2023 Top Rated Nonprofit on Great Nonprofits. Learn more about FUR at:


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