BISSELL Pet Foundation Saves More Than 70 Dogs From a “Rescuer” in Central Mississippi

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Dead, decomposing dogs found in small cages and scattered across the property

More than 70 dogs saved from egregious conditions in Mississippi

Large breed dog with manage and injuries tied to shelter on property of failed rescue.
Large breed dog with manage and injuries tied to shelter on property of failed rescue.

More than 70 dogs saved from egregious conditions in Mississippi

BISSELL Pet Foundation team member greets dog on the property of the failed rescue.
BISSELL Pet Foundation team member greets dog on the property of the failed rescue.

Newton, MS, July 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BISSELL Pet Foundation, a national animal welfare organization, in partnership with Animal Rescue Corps, a national nonprofit animal protection organization, responded to an urgent request from   Newton County officials for assistance with more than 70 dogs of various breeds found living in deplorable conditions on two properties in Newton, Miss., approximately one hour east of Jackson. Also supporting the ground team on site were Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM), Southern Pines Animal Shelter (SPAS), Rescue Riders Network, and local animal rescuers. All animals were seized by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, and Natalie Fancher Patten a self-described “rescuer,” and her husband William Patten were arrested and taken into custody on charges of animal cruelty, including felony animal cruelty.

The Newton County Sheriff’s Department made this discovery while responding to a complaint that representatives from a purported animal rescue organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Second Paw Dog Rescue, had not been on the property to care for the animal residents there in days. The Sheriff’s Department contacted Animal Rescue Corps requesting urgent help upon discovering the severity of the conditions and the large number of animals. Animal Rescue Corps quickly reached out to the other organizations to create a coalition and was on-scene with the necessary equipment, supplies, transport vehicles, volunteers, and a state-licensed veterinarian soon after receiving the call.

“Our nation’s animal shelters face mounting pressure to increase live release rates amidst a surge in pet intake and slowed adoptions. Unfortunately, a growing number of ‘rescues’ are being created to meet the demand to support at-risk pets,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “The state of these dogs and the horrific conditions they were living in are a clear example of a failed rescue. BISSELL Pet Foundation is proud to partner with Animal Rescue Corps to give these dogs a second chance at life.”

Responders found dozens of dogs chained outdoors to trees, trapped in outdoor cages and camping tents, and several more running loose around the nine-acre, trash-strewn property. The dogs had been without access to food, clean water, or necessary veterinary care. On a separate property, over 40 dogs were found running loose and inside a trailer. Over a dozen dead and decomposing carcasses were found in cages and scattered around the property. Two emaciated dogs had to be immediately euthanized due to untreated medical conditions that were too advanced to be treated.

“Not all victims of abuse are people, and we take animal cruelty very seriously in our community,” said Sheriff Joedy Pennington. “We will fully enforce the laws of this state and bring those responsible to justice.”

Inside a trailer, among piles of garbage on urine-soaked and feces-covered floors, several dogs including litters of small puppies only a few weeks old were found suffering in unimaginable conditions. The dogs, visibly covered in ticks and fleas, emaciated, dehydrated, and exhibited various illnesses and untreated injuries. Many of the chained dogs appear to have serious dental damage, ground and missing teeth, presumably from chewing at their chains to free themselves.
Working under the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, BISSELL Pet Foundation and Animal Rescue Corps safely removed the dogs and will transport them to Animal Rescue Corps’ Rescue Center in Gallatin, Tenn., about 30 minutes outside Nashville. Dogs will receive medical, physical, and social care until they can be placed with partnering shelters and rescue groups. Each animal will receive full medical exams, vaccinations, and any necessary treatments by a team of volunteer veterinarians.

BISSELL Pet Foundation provided critical funding for this emergency operation, coordinated on-scene volunteer support from the BISSELL Pet Foundation Shelter Partner Network, and will manage placement alongside Animal Rescue Corps with trusted shelter and rescue partners. Animal Rescue Corps managed the safe extraction of every animal, assessment, documentation, care, and collection of evidence for any cruelty proceedings in this rescue, dubbed Operation Skin and Bones.

BISSELL Pet Foundation’s Animal Incident Management initiative was launched specifically to help animals and the people who care for them before, during and after disaster strikes, whether it is a mission such as this one, or a large-scale event, like a hurricane. Learn more and make a donation at bissellpetfoundation.org.

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BISSELL Pet Foundation is a charitable 501©(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to help reduce the number of animals in shelters through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping and crisis and disaster response. Founded in 2011 by Cathy Bissell, BPF is an extension of her long-standing love for animals and commitment to their welfare. BPF has since partnered with more than 5,800 shelters and rescues across the U.S. and Canada to help pets find loving homes. The foundation is supported by generous donors and BISSELL Homecare, Inc, where every purchase saves pets. To learn more or make a lifesaving donation, visit bissellpetfoundation.org

About Animal Rescue Corps:
Since 2010, Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a national animal protection nonprofit, has provided large-scale animal rescue for communities that lack resources to address abuse In addition to emergency rescue, ARC offers education and shelter relief. ARC’s mission is to end animal suffering through direct and compassionate action and to inspire the highest ethical standards of humanity towards animals. To learn more about Animal Rescue Corps, visit: animalrescuecorps.org

About Southern Pines Animal Shelter:
Southern Pines’ purpose is to nurture the bond between people and pets through community, compassion, and collaboration to forge a path toward sustainable, responsible, and community-driven lifesaving. To learn more about Southern Pines Animal Shelter, visit: southernpinesanimalshelter.org

About Humane Society of South Mississippi:
The Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) is the largest animal welfare organization in the state of Mississippi. In 2019, HSSM cared for over 7,000 homeless pets. Since our incorporation in 1952, HSSM has been committed to ending pet overpopulation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. HSSM is an open-admissions shelter and turns no pet away based on health, age, or behavioral status. To learn more about Humane Society of South Mississippi, visit: hssm.org

About Animal Rescue New Orleans:
Founded in 2006, Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer-based organization created and dedicated to the rescue and aid of abandoned and homeless animals in the New Orleans area, including responding to the immediate needs of those in need of medical care or those too old, too young, too sick, neglected, abused and deprived of love. ARNO promotes the foster, adoption and reunion of pets with their families as well as spaying and neutering all companion animals through our no-kill shelter. To learn more about Animal Rescue New Orleans, visit animalrescueneworleans.org.

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CONTACT: Brittany Schlacter BISSELL Pet Foundation 616.600.9470 [email protected] 

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