Unexpected beagle invasion brings community together
Around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 6, Lehigh County Humane Society Shelter Manager Teisha Jones received a call for a rescue of 25 beagles from a home in Upper Saucon Township.
When members of the team from the shelter arrived at the residence with two trucks, they were not allowed in. When they looked through the window, they saw beagles everywhere, and heard barking and howling.
The resident brought the dogs out of the home one at a time, and after 25 dogs, Lehigh County Humane Society officials knew there were many more than they first suspected.
A total of 65 beagles were rescued from the home – 35 females and 30 males, ranging in age from 2 months to 11 years old.
“The dogs were scared, dirty and malnourished,” Jones said.
According to Lehigh County Humane Society CEO Hal Warner, of Kutztown, the team jumped into action.
Each dog was given a medical evaluation, shots, bands and numbers, bathed, toenails cut and food. There were no medical records for the dogs.
Veterinarian Dr. Mike DeSantis of Alburtis and certified vet technicians worked on the dogs as they came in.
All dogs that were able have been spade and neutered.
Warner said the dogs were weak and anti-social when they came to the shelter.
“Now they are eating up all of the attention from the staff and the volunteers,” Warner said. “They are different dogs now than they were at the beginning of the week.”
The shelter, located at 640 Dixon St., Allentown, sped up its normal adoption process to make room for the beagles.
Once the extended community learned of the new arrivals, donations of bedding, food and toys began arriving.
The shelter requested wet food because small dogs prefer it. They are giving a wet/dry food combination to up the dogs’ calories and put weight on them safely.
“With improved nutrition, it will help with medical issues,” Jones said.
“We have had donations from all over, including Washington state and Connecticut,” Warner said. “We get deliveries from FedEx, UPS, Amazon and Chewy.com every day.”
In addition, linens and toys have been donated and are being sorted by the volunteers.
“We have had such an outpouring of support,” Warner said. “What we need now are monetary donations.”
Typically, the shelter spends approximately $25,000 on medical care per month for the 200 to 250 animals housed at the shelter.
Warner said with the addition of the beagles, they expect to double that number.
“Our staff is working so hard and we have had an abundance of volunteers who are spending more time at the shelter than usual,” Warner said.
He said the dogs are being walked and are happy.
“It is heartwarming to see,” Warner said.
Adoption Specialist Lisa Smith, of Walnutport, said the dogs are sweet and some are still adjusting.
“We are providing all of the veterinary care for the beagles,” Jones said. “Some will need additional treatments after they are adopted.”
Some of the beagles have demodex mange, which Jones said is not contagious to animals or humans. They have started treatment at the Lehigh County Humane Society, but the lengthy treatment will need to be continued with the adopter’s veterinarian.
“It is not costly in the scheme of things,” Jones said.
Jones said he wants to apologize to the community for not being as responsive as usual to telephone calls, voicemail and emails.
“It’s been tough,” she said. “Our number one priority is the animals. Before the beagles arrived we had between 200 and 250 animals.”
Jones asked the community to be patient.
“We are overwhelmed. I’ve been in the clinic helping and the staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly,” Jones said.
“Everyone has been tremendous,” she said. “Thank you to everyone.”
The Lehigh County Humane Society is not accepting adoption applications for the beagles currently. Warner said they hope to begin accepting applications Oct. 18 or 19.
For more information on adopting any of the dogs at the shelter, call 610-797-1205.