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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Sprakers dogs getting attention they need

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Updated: 10:12 PM

By CAROLINE MURRAY

For the C-S-E

Though legal action prompted by animal rights activists got dogs out of subzero weather at a controversial Sprakers dog kennel last week, the story involving 41 dogs relinquished from the property has just begun.

Thirty-five dogs seized from the Flat Creek Border Collies breeding facility are recuperating at Glen Highland Farms, an expert border collie rescue facility in Morris.

The owner of the rescue, Lorrie Goodrich, said this is one of the worst cases she has witnessed since starting her business 13 years ago.

"We see a lot of these situations where backyard breeders get in over their head, they start to make money, and then for some reason, they can't sell the puppies. Then the puppies breed with the puppies, and then they have another one, and it just grows into these 100 dogs. This is one of the worst in my opinion," said Goodrich.

Herbert Weich, owner of the facility at 569 Rappa Road, Sprakers, was charged last Tuesday with failing to provide adequate shelter for his dogs.

Prior to a Montgomery County Supreme Court hearing that was prompted by a lawsuit, Weich agreed to temporarily give up some of his dogs to the Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Goodrich's rescue until he can construct adequate shelters.

MCSPCA shelter manager Jan Zumbolo said directly after the hearing, 36 of the kennel's border collies and five shih tzus were removed from Weich's property. Weich agreed to permanently surrender all but 10 of them.

Goodrich said her staff has observed a series of health issues in Weich's dogs; malnourishment is the number one problem.

"They are so thin you can put your hands around their hips," she said.

Since last Tuesday night, two veterinarians evaluated all 35 of the dogs. The majority of the border collies have tape worms, some of them are so malnourished their rib cages are protruding, pieces of their ears are missing, and their fur severely matted.

"Our vets are terrified," Goodrich said.

Goodrich said that an average border collie weighs around 40 pounds, give or take five pounds. Only Weich's female breeding dogs had a normal weight, the rest were "a bag of bones," she said.

Goodrich said Glen Highland Farms employs eight staff members who watch over 50 dogs at any given time. They have more than 100 acres of land, a building for senior dogs, one for puppies and heated and air-conditioned rooms.

She admitted they have their hands full now that they have taken in Weich's border collies and can already foresee a complicated recovery.

Goodrich said it could take up to one to two years, however, she has faith they will survive.

"I think they can make it, it's just a long haul," said Goodrich.

Weich's puppies and four adult dogs will remain at his property. The puppies will be taken inside Weich's home if subzero temperatures are reached, and the older dogs will remain on the property in shelters deemed suitable for the chilly conditions, according to the agreement.

Weich asked that the aforementioned 10 dogs be returned Jan. 21, a date that Judge Joseph Sise agreed to so long as Weich completes his renovated shelters.

"They worked out a deal [Tuesday], that was in the proposal, we would work things out as time moved on," said Zumbolo.

The MCSPCA took complete ownership over the five shih tzus and one border collie, and though most of the dogs are being fostered at Goodrich's rescue, the SPCA will be administering full medical care, including spaying or neutering 31 dogs.

Donations are being accepted through the MCSPCA, which is incurring all associated costs. Zumbolo said they are supplying the farm with funds in order to pay for their veterinarian bills.

     

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