Wythe County, VA - March 20, 2014 - Subject of national attention and protests, 11 dogs living in a box in Wythe County, Virginia will be getting a new shelter, provided by Guardians of Rescue. There were many complaints, rumors and protests asserting that he was abusing his dogs. Recent reports stated that Thomas’ dogs were living in squalor and had lack of food and water. Guardians of Rescue, a nation-wide animal rescue organization, instantly stepped in to evaluate the situation and found there is more to the story than meets the eye. As a result of their investigation, the group will be placing a 10’ by 16’ doghouse on the property on March 22, 2014. In addition to Guardians of Rescue, local and state authorities have investigated the situation and determined that the animals were in no danger.
We heard about the dogs being ill-treated and we instantly sent a representative to visit the property,” affirms Robert Misseri, founder and president of Guardians of Rescue. “We also sent a private investigator to look into the accusations about the dog’s owner, Michael Thomas. “While Mr. Thomas is not the most ideal pet owner, he is not intentionally neglecting the animals. Instead, he lacks the resources to provide them with more. If this was intentional neglect, we would have taken another approach.”
Instead of finding the animals suffering of malnourishment and a lack of hygiene, the dogs were healthy. The makeshift plywood shelter was primitive, but no worse off than their owner’s trailer without electricity or running water. While Thomas couldn’t provide a better shelter, he proved to be a devoted owner. He goes to the store weekly to get water and food for the dogs, putting their needs before his own.
“The ideal situation would be for Mr. Thomas to surrender the dogs and find loving homes but that’s not a reality,” affirms Dori Scofield, vice president of Guardians of Rescue. “We are realists and our focus is on providing him with the proper education and resources to make sure the dogs live a healthy life.”
The doghouse that will be delivered will have five windows and two 10’ by 20’ pens for the dogs. A local animal welfare group will be checking on them to see if they need anything, such as flea treatment. Guardians of Rescue will be footing the bill for any and all vet care. The animal rescue organization plans to stay on this, as they do with all of their cases.
“Thomas suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, which makes him hard to understand, but he cares a lot about his dogs,” affirms Misseri. “He said he wouldn’t give up his pets for a million dollars, but he welcomed our help in providing a shelter for his dogs. If we walk away from these animals and not provide the shelter or compassion that they need, then we are equally as negligent.”
For more information, visit the website at guardiansofrescue.org.