Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The story of Ingrid


The Rock County Humane Society is desperately trying to find homes for 44 Siberian Huskys rescued from what appears to be a “puppy mill” operation. A “puppy mill” is generally a disreputable animal breeder who is trying to sell as many puppies as possible without taking proper care of the animals.

In this particular animal rescue,

“We not only got 44 dogs, we got 44 dogs that are desperately filthy,” said the shelter’s executive director Chris Konetski on Tuesday.

“We’re using sheep shears right now to sheer the coats off,” explained supervisor Jim Hurley.

The humane society had no clue these dogs were crammed together, until an anonymous phone call on Monday afternoon led Hurley to the home of Jerry and Michelle Talley on Afton Road in the town of Rock. “I could smell the house, just like an ammonia factory,” said Hurley. He said dogs were in feces up to six inches thick in the house, in the yard, in a shed. Urine and feces were covered in mold in places, mixed with food.

If you can provide a suitable home for one of them, they need your help.

Konetski said the Rock County Humane Society was already near capacity when it learned of the huskies. A Siberian Huskie rescue based in Illinois has agreed to take 15 of the dogs.

To learn how to adopt the animals, call the Rock County Humane Society at 608-752-5622.

The story hits home with the Wigdersons, because we are the proud owners of Ingrid, a Siberian Husky. Named after Ingrid Bergman, she came into our lives in a most unusual way: she tunneled in.

She was a “Seven Mile Fair” dog, purchased by a couple that lived next door to my in-laws on Milwaukee’s near South Side just East of 27th street. it turns out, the dog was not what they really wanted, so she was kept outside all the time and given inadequate care.

Ingrid was a social dog, even as a pup, and decided that if her owners didn’t want her she would find someone else. So she dug underneath the fence into the yard of Doreen’s parents, restrained from escaping further by a long leash. This happened more than once and when my wife learned of this she asked her parents to ask their neighbors if they planned to get rid of the dog. They said they were willing to part with the dog for $100.

Coming from a family of show dog breeders (Miramor Kennels, Great Danes) I was not exactly wild at the idea of paying $100 for an unregistered dog with bogus papers. But when we got there I took one look at Ingrid’s owners, decided not to ask them to sign a contract about the dog, wrote the check and Doreen and I took our new dog home.

As we were leaving with Ingrid, her former owners handed us a blue card supposedly from a vetrinarian indicating the dog had been vaccinated and de-wormed. I climbed into the car and tossed the “record” into the back seat, telling Doreen that it was probably a forgery or a copy made of some dog’s record from a long time ago.

Doreen and I took Ingrid to the vet almost immediately. Both ears were infected, she had a bladder infection, and she had worms.

Ingrid has never grown into her full potential as a Siberian Husky, probably the result of early malnutrition and later mistreatment. I don’t entirely blame her previous owners. They probably sincerely believed that a bargain dog from Seven Mile Fair came from a loving home. But every time one of these reports surface and the report includes Siberian Huskys I always wonder, was this the puppy mill where Ingrid came from?

If you’re not going to buy a dog from a reputable breeder, then buy a dog at the Humane Society. Reputable breeders don’t sell their dogs at flea markets, and they don’t sell them to pet shops. Don’t feed the puppy mills with your money.

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