News Update!

KFOR Report in OKC

Updated: November 5, 2002 at 4:37 PM

STILWELL, Okla. -- Dozens of dogs were rescued from near starvation this
past weekend after they were abandoned.

The dogs were discovered after their owner, who had been collecting stray
dogs, died several months before.

There were originally reported to be about 75 dogs abandoned, some in pens,
others just wandering around in rural Oklahoma. More than 50 were rescued,
and they're now at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter, where they could use
your help.

To these dogs the cages at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter must seem like
heaven. They were left to fend for themselves for possibly several months.

"All of them were in varying stages of starvation and some of them were
emaciated and some of them were just really poor shape," said Andrew Putnam,
spokesman for the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.
These are the lucky ones. They're already in the stray area where potential
adopters can view them. About five of the dogs had to be put down.

"We had one that couldn't use his back legs and was like buried knee deep in
mud and probably hadn't moved for days, you know, with all the rain we had
last weekend," Putnam said.

Neighbors in the area had called the Adair County Sheriff's department to
put the dogs down, but some kind souls there couldn't do it, and finally a
rescue group from Lawton made the long trek to bring the animals to the

There are no signs of abuse, but the animals are suffering from mange, some
have to be quarantined because they were so frightened they bit the rescue
workers. But shelter officials say most will make great pets.
"Almost all of the dogs, once they got used to their surroundings, were
acclimating to humans and coming up an having eye contact with us and
sniffing us and all that," Putnam said.

Dozens of dogs that were left for dead are now on the road to recovery
anxiously awaiting their second chance at life.

Obviously, it's hard on the Oklahoma City animal shelter to get a large
number of dogs in at one time. They're in need of cash donations, also food,
blankets, toys and grooming supplies.

If you're interested in adopting one of the dogs you can head over to the
animal shelter to find one. If it's not ready to be adopted they'll hold it
for you.

If you'd like to call the shelter and offer your help or inquire about
adopting call 297-3118.

Tulsa World Report
Rescuers save starving dogs after their owner dies
By Staff Reports
STILWELL -- More than 50 starving dogs that had been caged without food or water for weeks at a rural home south of Stilwell after their owner died were rescued last week.

Faith Orlowski of the Tulsa Bar Association's Animal Law Committee said Monday that Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Diane Hammons notified her about the dogs Wednesday.

Orlowski, in turn, called Robin Pressnall of Small Paws® Rescue in Tulsa. The group delivered about 400 pounds of food that had been donated by PetsMart of Tulsa to the dogs about midnight Wednesday.

Orlowski said volunteers with Lawton's Sheltering Tree Animal Rescue Society took the dogs Saturday to the Oklahoma City Municipal Shelter, where they are being nursed back to health.

"It cost approximately $300 per dog for treatment," Orlowski said. "Several veterinarians were waiting at the shelter in Oklahoma City to treat the animals."

She said the Animal Law Committee was formed two years ago to deal with just this type of situation. Orlowski said that if it hadn't been for the Cherokee Nation marshals, the dogs would have perished.

Catherine English of the Oklahoma City Municipal Shelter said Monday that the animals were emaciated when they arrived and were being treated for a variety of illnesses in preparation for adoption.

Of the 54 animals recovered from the home near Bunch, southeast of Stilwell, English said eight were euthanized because of illness and unsociable behavior.

Tera Shows, a spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation, said Monday that 62 dogs originally had been kept at the home of Robert Swanke, who died a short time ago.

Shows said friends and relatives had been trying to feed the animals as best they could.

Before Swanke died, he was known for taking in stray animals, officials said.

English said the good news is that most of the dogs retrieved will be available for adoption.

She said the ASPCA has pledged funding for the dogs' care, and Southern Agriculture in Tulsa donated 1,400 pounds of food to the rescue mission.

To make a donation for the dogs' care or adopt a dog, contact Small Paws® Rescue in Tulsa. >

Five Dozen Starving Dogs Found Alive in Stillwell Oklahoma

We gave great updated news! The starving Cherokee dogs from last week were rescued Saturday. November 2, 2002! 62 rescued dogs were taken to a division of the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division. They were transported by a wonderful volunteer rescue group called the Sheltering Tree Animal Rescue Society (STARS) ,thanks to Lynn Ramos, her son Sam, and sixteen of their other volunteers from Lawton, Oklahoma! Lynn's account is below!

A truly wonderful lady, Cathrine English, (Catherine English Superintendent, Animal Welfare Division is now in charge of this rescue in OKC, through the OKC Animal Welfare Division. Catherine told us that they had vets and vet techs waiting there for the dog's arrival on Saturday. These dogs were triaged, treated, (they will even be even treated for heartworm and lymes disease if necessary) and then the dogs that are placeable will be placed into loving homes!
These dogs have come into some incredible luck. Their bill is being paid by the ASPCA in New York City.
Again, thank you all so very much to everyone who prayed and sent this story out to the Internet! These dogs received prayers and concern from as far as Tokyo and Australia.
They tell us that we should be seeing some media accounts about this huge rescue soon. The dogs are now in safety!:) Here are some updates as we all saw them happening both from the shelter and from the transporters!

<Subj: 9 PM:Stillwell update from Catherine...
Date: 11/2/2002 9:02:37 PM Central Standard Time
From: (English, Catherine A.)

The dogs are here. The transporters are wet, cold and tired and so is our staff, who worked all day as well. Eighteen dogs were left behind in Adair County because the people who live there wouldn't let the rescuers take them (I guess the dogs are theirs). We have 62. Unfortunately, there were 9 bites to rescuers, but none of them were severe. Most of the dogs are in really bad shape and many are aggressive. We're going to hang onto them for a couple of days anyway to see if the aggression is from fear/strangers/travelling, or if they just aren't suitable for adoption. We cannot save the biters. The rescuers and our Officers, vet techs, vet, supervisors and animal welfare representatives are all still there and will be until all of the dogs are processed (at least another 1.5-2 hours).

After reviewing the situation, the transporters decided that none of the dogs had to be euthanized before arrival. They originally thought some of the dogs wouldn't make the trip alive. They were most worried about a guy with a gashed head, but our vet will suture and clean him up, and will assess him later. He made the trip okay.

The Sheltering Tree Animal Rescue Society people started really early this a.m. and still have a couple of hours here before they can leave. They then face a 2 hour drive before they get home. I ordered in pizza for everyone (my treat--nothing but animal care/rescue will come out of the donation from ASPCA or anyone else) so that will set them back another hour or so for dinner. In short, please keep them close to your heart for a safe drive home in what is rainy, icky weather, because by the time they get home they will have been driving, loading, driving, unloading and driving some more, for about 16 hours.

I've received tons of emails--thanks to all for your words of encouragement and for your offers of help. I'm not sure how many of these dogs, after they settle in for a couple of days, will really be savable, because right now they all look awfully rough, but I'll let y'all know something the first of the week. The preliminary assessment is pretty grim.

Thanks to Robin Pressnall and Faith Orlowsky, who sent up the alarm and coordinated everyone, and to everyone at STARS for being so brave and committed. A thanks and big hugs all around, also, for our local volunteers, activists and staff who are taking part in every way. I'm proud to know and work with all of you!!!>

Subj: The Stillwell Adventure
Date: 11/2/2002 11:35:45 PM Central Standard Time
From: (Lynn, Sheltering Tree Animal Rescue)


I am not very good with the computer so I am going to tell you my story and let you e-mail the people that you think need to read this.

I received a phone call around 4-4:30 PM on Friday asking if the STARS
organization could help transport animals from Stillwell. I called you and you know what transpired from there. it took me roughly two hours on Friday to locate 16 people, seven trucks, two horse trailers and a dog trailer to go to Stillwell on Saturday morning. All of the stars group met at my shop at 4-4:30 am. It was certainly a dreary day, and we were all hoping that we would get a break in the weather (no such luck).

Our little caravan arrived in Stillwell at 10:45 am. We were met by two very nice Cherokee Nation marshals, L. D and Sharon, who took us out to the site where the dogs were located. We immediately got out and starting assessing the situation.

The left side of the property where part of the dogs were was the
worst. The cages on the left were almost solid mud up to our knees. The right
side had more grassy area and the dogs were not as bogged down. We
immediately set to work deciding which animals needed to be put in cages
first. We found one dog buried to his waist in mud. He was definitely the
worst case scenario (he was suffering from hypothermia and had no feeling in
the lower half of his body). We divided into two groups of eight and began to
work. Most of the dogs were completely non-aggressive. There were
approximately 15 that did not want to cooperate.

We did not get bitten because the dogs were aggressive or mean spirited; they bit us out of sheer fear.

They were all cold, hungry and very scared. It took us right at an
hour to load all of these dogs into our trucks for transportation. There were
approximately 15 dogs that had a skin fungus of some kind. We had one dog
that had a serious bacterial infection; one dog that tried to rip his ear off
to get away from us, and one that was completely blind due to a serious eye

There were at least two more dogs that seemed to have eye problems,
several very malnourished dogs, several that were pregnant or had recently
given birth. We found no puppies under the age of 6 months. Most of the dogs
were estimated to be roughly six years old. There are severe dental problems
with all of them. They all needed baths and warmth. Also plenty of good food,
kindness and most important a loving compassionate person to care for them. I personally tried to handle or be around every single dog that we rescued to
see how they were reacting to this very stressful situation. Every single one
of us carried at least one dog inside our truck cabs with us. Every dog we
had inside the cabs with us behaved like any normal dog. Most of them slept
all or almost all of the way into the city.

The animal shelter people in the city were very nice to us. they met us at Choctaw Road and escorted us to the shelter with flashing lights. We had one shelter van in front of us and one in back with one leading the way and stopping the traffic at every light to get us thru. A great many thanks to the officers.

By the time we actually got into the city, all of us were very weary. The shelter staff were all very nice. We all worked very well together. Each and every one of us had at least one favorite that we would like to have taken home with us. I know that this rescue put a severe strain on the shelter, however I hope that they will try
to give these animals a chance. If we had a shelter, believe me we would have taken them home.

All of the STARS group feel that out of all of the dogs that we rescued today there might be 10 at the most that would not do good in the right home environment. Even though we were all very wet, cold, tired and hungry when we got to OKC, there was not one of our group that had any regrets about being out there rescuing those poor dogs. And we would all do it again tomorrow. Thanks for being there to get the word out.

If you have any more questions or I need to write more please let me know.

Thanks again and I hope that we will meet soon.

Regards, Lynn>