After Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption posted on social media about 50 small dogs who were rescued from a “hoarder home” outside of Wichita, another pet rescue group said that Unleashed Pet Rescue changed a sad story into something so much worse.
“They did not represent the truth,” Jennifer Rouse with We Are Grateful Sanctuary said. WAGS is a pet rescue group out of Winfield, and it also helped rescue some of the 50 small dogs out of Goddard.
In Unleashed Pet Rescue’s original post on Facebook, it said: “There were 50 little dogs living...trying to survive. They didn’t have enough food, no one took care of them, they were not loved.”
The post, which asked for donations, has since been edited. It no longer includes that the dogs were without food or love.
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The new, edited post says, “As with most hoarders, the people believed they were properly caring for their dogs. But these poor babies were not only inbreeding with each other, 3 are pregnant right now.
“These dogs also had overgrown nails, were not current on vaccinations or prevention (flea and heartworm prevention). None are spayed/neutered,” the post continued. “And all are extremely undersocialized.”
Rouse believes Unleashed Pet Rescue, who took in 23 of the 50 dogs, may have changed the story to collect more donations for their organization. Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption is not a registered charity with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.
“I want to say I am not mad at Unleashed for twisting the facts to get donations but, the real story needs told,” she said in a Facebook message.
Rouse said the rescue did not tell the full story of the man who gave up his dogs.
“He was an elderly, senior veteran who did the best he could,” she said. “He gave them all rabies shots and flea protection. He paid three grand in July for shots and flea meds.”
Rouse said they were given the vet records of the dogs, and none of them had fleas.
“This poor guy felt overwhelmed,” she said. “He had a friend reach out to a rescue because he couldn’t handle it, but he was crying as he gave them away. He took pictures and gave each one a kiss goodbye.”
Because of hoarding laws in Kansas, Rouse said the man who gave the dogs up did not report it to authorities. Rather, Rouse said he had a friend reach out to a rescue.
To protect the man, Lesa Hiebert with Wichita Area Lost and Found Pets picked the dogs up from his property, as she is not a member of a licensed rescue group. Rouse was not there.
Once he gave up his dogs, arrangements were made to meet at the Goddard Wal-Mart, so both WAGS and Unleashed could rescue them. Rouse said she does not know the man’s name or address.
Rouse also said six rescue groups – two from Oklahoma – were involved in saving the dogs, but she did not have the names of the other organizations. Hiebert does have the names, but she said she would not be releasing who else was involved.
“I would not have gotten Unleashed involved if I knew they were going to take this to the media,” Hiebert said. “I am worried it will push people away from contacting us because they don’t want to be labeled as this horrible person.”
Rouse said this was the best hoarder situation she has seen, as every dog she rescued was well socialized.
Hiebert said each dog had a name, and some even had pet clothes and accessories. They were all well fed, and she said some were even on the chubby side.
“This owner loved his pets,” she said.
Because he loved his pets and cried when giving them away, Rouse is worried the story Unleashed Pet Rescue initially gave could hurt the man’s mental health.
“It is not true that he didn’t love them,” she said. “He had paperwork, shot records, so it got twisted into a bad thing for him.”
Hiebert reached out to Unleashed Pet Rescue on its original post, but once she questioned the story, her comment was deleted and she was blocked from Unleashed’s Facebook page, she said.
Unleashed Pet Rescue has not immediately returned a request for comment via phone or email. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Goddard Police Department do not have any record of this case.