I-Team: Proper way to rescue pets
May 3, 2012 / Jim Taricani | NBC 10
The NBC 10 I-Team concludes a three-part investigation into dog rescue organizations. In Parts 1 and 2, The I-Team revealed complaints against Help Save One, a group that rescues dogs from southern kill shelters. In Part 3, the I-Team explains the proper way to rescue animals.
The I-Team exposed numerous problems with the Help Save One group and its owner, Marissa Stracaluzi.
She’s abandoned dogs she’s rescued, leaving them at boarding kennels and not paying for their care. She’s taken money from people to adopt a dog and never delivered the dog.
Saving a dog from a southern kill shelter needs to be done properly. The Potter League for Animals in Middletown has a great reputation in Rhode Island for rescues and doing dog adoption, by the book.
“When we finally get the animal here to Rhode Island, we will do an entire veterinary check again. We’ll run through all the records. We’ll do a behavior evaluation. We’ll quarantine them for a certain number of days, depending on what situation it’s been in before,” said Christie Smith of the Potter League.
The I-Team investigation showed that Help Save One sometimes brings dogs from North Carolina and South Carolina with diseases and no quarantine period at all.
When a rescue group claims a dog at a kill shelter in the South, it must meet certain criteria.
Our investigation took the I-Team to Gaston County, N.C, where between January 2010 and April 2010, Help Save One put 23 claims on dogs from an animal shelter.
“First of all they have to have a 501(c)(3), which is a nonprofit letter from the IRS stating they are registered as a nonprofit. They also go through a criminal background check,” said Lisa Douglas of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.
Help Save One is not a registered nonprofit. Dr. Ernest Finocchio, the head of Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said groups like Help Save One are scams that play on people’s emotions.
“People’s emotions with pets, they run very high. They sort of screen out everything else and they only have that tunnel vision. I am going to pay this money. I am going to save this puppy. I am going to take it home. Eventually, things don’t work out as nice as we would all like them to work out,” Finocchio said.
But Help Save One will have a difficult time operating as it is now. New state regulations concerning the adoption, rescue and importation of out-of-state dogs into Rhode Island went into effect last week.
Licensed Animal Shelters in Rhode Island
RI DEM Rules and Regulations Governing Importation of Animals (pdf)