Rescue Watchdogs(TM)

People and Rescues working together for the betterment of Rescue


In the News



Dog rescue shelter called unhealthy

NORCO: Actor Burt Ward's facility is substandard, council members are told.


Gentle Giants responds to questions about us
Mon, 13 Nov 2006

This is an email that GG sent someone who was asking about what they had read here and on the Gentle Giant News website. As usual GG are busy blaming everyone else and making outrageous claims about the supposed good they do. I guess the fact that there have been at least two dozen other rescues involved in our efforts to shut them down, and that at one time they were claiming we were nothing but a bunch of jealous rescues, has slipped their mind. I guess the fact that they accused me of being the ringleader of this effort has slipped their mind too (I am a married guy who runs a Dane rescue, I do not exactly fit their spinster profile). Or perhaps mentioning me would have prevented them from getting on their high horse at the end of the email, given that I do run a rescue and do know exactly what is involved. They also seem to have forgotten the fact that every single one of the testimonials was sent to us by a real live person, many of whom still have the dogs they adopted from GG. Take Barbara Laird for example, the owner of the Gentle Giant News website. One of those testimonials is hers. She adopted a dog from GG. She still has it. Fact is, GG can not legally "repossess" a dog once it has been adopted, so they have not actually repossessed any dogs. If they have gotten any dogs back from adopters, it has either been a case where the adopters returned it (most often because it turned out to have undisclosed serious health problems and/or behavioral/aggression problems), or where the adopters were bullied into returning the dog because they did not know their rights under the law. As you can see from this document, to GG "putting the dog's life at risk" can simply constitute not feeding it the food they want you to feed it or feeding it "only" two or three times a day.

Oh, BTW, the following was cut and pasted from the original email, so any typos or grammatical errors are GG's, not ours.  If their email seems a little disjointed and in some places a bit rambling, that's the way it was received from GG.


From: Adoptions <adoptions@gentlegiantsrescue.com>
To: xxx <xxx@comcast.net>
Subject: Your correspondence!
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 20:21:11 +0000

Dear xxx:

Thank you for your correspondence.

All of their so-called "testimonials" are false and don't outweigh the 350 pages on our website with thousands of happy adopters and hundreds of happy testimonials. We receive more than one dozen complimentary letters a day from happy adopters, and we don't even have the time to post them.Most of their so-called "testimonials" on their bogus website are completely fabricated by people who have never adopted a dog from us nor even been to our property.  The few "testimonials" that are people whohave adopted a dog from us are people who we have repossessed the adopted dog because that haven't cared for it properly and have put the dog's life at risk or who are just complainers with fabricated, exaggerated stories.

Every dog that we get is rescued.  We have never and will never breed a dog because there are so many thousands to save each year, including pregnant mothers or litters with their mothers available to be rescued.

The only thing "sad" thing is that a few people like you choose to believe what they read instead of finding out the truth. What don't you do a little research and find out how many of those people spend their money to save animals lives?  We have saved and placed more than 9,000 dogs in the last 12 years, and we've spent millions of dollars of our own money doing it.
 
Most of the complainers are over middle aged spinsters who have no life, and have nothing better to do than try to tear other people down.  Why don't you contact them and ask them to start their own animal rescue? Why don't you help them by starting out _today_ and driving around to several animal shelters and pay dogs out and feed them and pay for their medical care because most of them will be or will get sick?

If you think that you can do better, then why don't you do it?
 
In the meantime, this week and every week, we will be saving 20-30 dogs from being needlessly put to sleep.  This week and every week, every one of the 20-30 dogs will be taken to a vet and examined and treated for any problem they might have.  This week and every week, each dog will be cared for and loved, fed well and have a safe protected home for its entire life!
 
Anybody that takes their time and money to save a life is doing a good thing.  We hope that you will save at least one dog's life this week. Not only would that be great for the dog, but you will understand what it takes and how much of your time and money that you will spend to do it.

Then, if you read how someone else says something bad about you when you doing everything that you can to save animals lives, then you will really understand how disappointing it is that others who do nothing complain about you who are trying to do your best to do good.



Did you notice that in their first sentence they claim that all the testimonials are "false," but in the third and fourth sentences they admit that some of the testimonials are real and have come from actual adopters (of course in the same breath they try to blame the adopters for any problems). So which is it? Are they all false, or are only some of them false? As usual, consistency, reality, and factuality seem to be a problem for them. For example, they claim in this email that they "save" 20-30 dogs ever week. Hmmm, I am not a math whiz, but by my calculations that comes to between 1040 and 1560 dogs each year. Yet they declared only around 200 dogs in their 2004 IRS tax return, and only around 300 dogs in their 2005 return. Could this be yet another simple miscalculation? Or is it more likely a case of them either lying about the number of dogs they run through their "rescue" each year in this email, or lying to the IRS about how many dogs they adopted in 2004 and 2005. Either way, as usual, their math doesn't add up.

GG seems to be enthralled by numbers and superlatives while forgetting what is really important. They brag about having the world's biggest Dane for example, yet they forget to mention that he is dead now or that he was morbidly obese. They brag about how many dogs they have "rescued" yet they forget that it is not how many you save, but how good a job you do for them. Most of us in rescue would rather see a rescue save just 10 dogs a year and do a good job of each one, than to see a rescue mishandle 1000 dogs a year. Real rescue is about the dogs, not the rescuers. GG just doesn't seem to get this. It's always about them and how wonderful they are for saving all these poor dogs. The fact is they do not take in only dogs who would otherwise be put to sleep. There are breed rescues willing to take in almost all the dogs GG "rescues," and they would certainly do a better job of caring for and placing these dogs. Now that GG has branched out into breeds other than just Danes, they are frequently not even properly identifying the breeds. Some of the breeds they handle are very dangerous if not handled properly, such as the Filas, yet they have placed these dogs in unsuspecting homes and told the adopters they were some other breed of dog.

Ask yourself why GG always has so many puppies advertised? Where do all those pups come from? Either they are lying about having pups, and are using the images of pups to lure people to them (a bait and switch tactic in other words), or they really do have a massively disproportional number of pups compared to other rescues, in which case those pups are either being bred there at GG or they are getting them directly from breeders. Is this rescue, or is this a new way of marketing a puppy mill? GG wants to hook your emotions so you won't think too much about this. Don't let them baffle you with their BS. They are not a reputable rescue. They are lucky if they can get a half dozen other "rescues" to vouch for them.

Just in case anyone is wondering, I have removed the name of the recipient of this email, just to keep them from having to face a bunch of bullying from GG, but the email is fully documented and can be authenticated if need be.

Canine-rescue libel suit gets dismissed by judge

DISPUTE: The 'Batman' actor filed the complaint after an angry client posted to a Web site.

12:41 AM PST on Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Orange County Superior Court judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by former actor Burt Ward and his wife, Tracy, against a Westminster woman who posted comments about their Great Dane rescue shelter on an Internet message board.

Ward, best known for playing "Robin" on the 1960s TV show "Batman," said nothing upon leaving Judge Jamoa A. Moberly's courtroom at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

His attorney, Sanford Passman, declined to comment on the ruling.

The Wards served Barbara Laird and several others who were critical of their rescue operation with a complaint on Aug. 24. The judge Tuesday acted on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that Laird filed on Oct. 20.

Read the entire story here

Friday, March 3, 2006
Orange County Register

Burt Ward, aka Robin from TV's "Batman," had his defamation suit against Barbara Laird of Westminster and two out-of-county defendants tossed out by Judge Jamoa Moberly last week.

Laird had bought a Great Dane from Ward's dog-rescue operation out in Norco. Ward took exception to the brand of food Laird started to feed the beast and threatened to take it away. That prompted Laird and the two others to criticize Ward on a variety of Web sites, which Ward says cost him business. So he sued.

Not only did he lose, but under a California law designed to protect free speech, Ward is also likely to be held liable for the defendants' attorney fees, which are going to be somewhere well north of $50,000.

For pure spectacle, I was looking forward to a trial, but this is a suit that should never have been filed. In fact, it's the second time he's had a defamation suit tossed out. In 2003, Ward sued the Riverside Press Enterprise, which had written about environmental issues stemming from water running off his property with a high fecal content - presumably from his dogs.

Monday, November 21, 2005
Orange County Register

Kapow! Robin's lawyer lands it right in the kisser

In today's episode, "Robin" comes to the O.C.


Register columnist
fmickadeit@ocregister.com

So Burt Ward would have likely cried if what happened to him in Orange County Superior Court on Friday had happened to Robin, the tights-wearing superhero Ward once played on TV.

The morning's events began with me sitting in the near-empty fourth-floor hallway of the Santa Ana courthouse waiting for Ward to show up for a hearing in which he was trying to get a judge to shut down three Web sites that are critical of his Great Dane-rescue operation out in Norco.

About 9:30, two figures came off the elevator and started walking down the hall toward me. Neither, I decided, would look particularly good in tights, but, sure enough, one of them was Ward, who was wearing a flowery Tommy Bahama-style shirt and casual slacks.


Ward seemed friendly enough, but his attorney, Sanford Passman, leveled me with a one-two punch worthy of any caped crusader: The words "fair and balanced."

OOF!!!

Thanks to Bill O'Reilly, the first words out of the mouth of any aggrieved source these days are "fair and balanced" - as if a real reporter would want to hold himself to that muttering bully's interpretation of those standards. Then Passman trotted out the "reporters-trying-to-sell-newspapers" canard, which I countered with the equally cliché and intellectually dishonest "lawyers-just-trying-to-run-up-clients'-bills" canard, and we were at impasse.

Read the entire story here or at the Orange County Register website here

Pow! Woof! Westminster woman battles caped crusader

Former superhero takes on O.C. woman.


Register columnist
fmickadeit@ocregister.com

There he was, Burt Ward - aka "Robin," Batman's trusty sidekick - and someone was posting messages on an Internet site slamming his Southern California dog-rescue operation and his obsession with a certain brand of dog food.

"Holy Alpo, Batman!!!" as Robin might shriek. "Sounds like the work of Catwoman!!!"

"No so fast, my diminutive, tights-wearing chum!!!" Batman would reply. "This caper has the odorous stench of something that could only emanate from ... Orange County!

Indeed

Read the entire story here or at the Orange County Register website here
See the legal Documents
No secrecy or shady back room stuff for us

In our efforts to keep the discussion about the lawsuit and all of the proceedings public, and to keep everyone informed about what is going on, we are publishing all the related documents here. This includes court documents and other related correspondence. We will continue to update this section as new documents are filed or any new correspondence is received.
Wards File Suit
Dateline Orange County CA
August 8, 2005
Rescue Watchdogs

Gentle Giants and the Wards have filed suit against 2 former ROARs Coalition members, 2 individuals who were not part of the ROARs Coalition, and 100 "DOEs" to be named once they figure out who else they're mad at and want to sue.

In an attempt to stop people from speaking out about their operation, Burt and Tracy Ward, as well as Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions Inc., have filed suit against former ROARs Coalition and current Rescue Watchdogs members Marc Sayer and Barbara Laird in Orange County Superior Court. They have also named two other people involved in rescue who were not members of the ROARs Coalition, as well as 100 unnamed "DOEs"

The suit alleges 7 separate Causes of Action.
  • Defamation (Libel) of Burt and Tracy
  • Defamation (Trade Libel) of Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions Inc.
  • Intentional Interference With Potential Economic Advantage of Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions Inc.
  • Negligent Interference With Potential Economic Advantage of Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions Inc.
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress of Burt and Tracy
  • Negligence
  • Injunctive Relief

Sayer runs Deaf Dane Rescue Inc., a rescue devoted to special needs Danes, and Laird has adopted a dog from GG.  GG had previously threatened to sue Laird for not feeding the Dane she adopted from them the brand of food they had suggested. The current lawsuit was not really a big surprise for Laird or Sayer. In fact they were more surprised to find out that GG did not name more ROARs Coalition members in the suit. GG had threatened Sayer with a law suit earlier this year. Their lawyer had sent Sayer and another ROARs Coalition member a "cease and desist" email. Now we aren't lawyers, but we're pretty sure a legal cease and desist demand can't be delivered via email.

Their blatant attempts to intimidate and bully people will not prevent us from continuing to try to keep people informed. That sort of behavior may have worked for them in the past, but they are dealing with a new mindset now. Rescue Watchdogs will not be intimidated, nor will it be bullied. We are careful to verify and document what we publish here, or to clearly state when we are voicing an opinion or theorizing, and we believe we are within our rights under the 1st amendment to speak out on these issues. GG is a 501c3 public charity, and as such they are subject to public scrutiny. What happens there is of interest to other rescues, to public shelters and other agencies, and to the public in general. The public has a right to know how public charities conduct themselves.

The Wards and GG brought suit against their local newspaper, the Press Enterprise, a few years ago over a story about waste runoff. That case was dismissed and the Wards were ordered to pay the defendants $51,000 in attorney fees and court costs. Like many shady characters such as BYBs, GG often threatens lawsuits as a way to intimidate people and keep them from speaking out or taking action. In our investigations we heard this from adopters and others regularly, along with threats to "
repossess" dogs adopted from GG. In part these intimidation efforts have been successful, but only because people were not aware of their rights or were afraid of being sued. A rescue may be able to successfully sue you for breach of contract if you fail in some way to abide by the legally enforceable portions of the contract, and thereby get a monetary judgment against you. But not all portions of a contract are necessarily legally enforceable and failure to abide by an unenforceable clause or section should not be grounds for breach of contract. Speaking the truth is not defamation, and you are entitled to voice your opinions as long as you state them as opinions. Threats to sue, and even filing a suit, are the sort of bully tactics that used to work, but the laws have changed and this is no longer a viable tactic in most states. Laws vary from state to state. So it is always best to consult a lawyer, and to know exactly what your rights are. It is much harder to bully someone who knows their rights and responsibilities under the law. Bullies do not want you to know your rights.

Update 10/27/05 - GG and the Wards are back in court today trying to force Sayer to shut down his website (this website - Ed.). Sayer has a hearing at 1:30 this afternoon on their emergency request for a temporary restraining order pending a ruling on their request for a permanent injunction. "Of course there is no chance in hell of them shutting down the website. Here in the US we have a thing called free speech (the irony of the Boy Wonder attacking the right of free speech is just too rich). But they might be able to limit the domain names that we use to access the site. Stay tuned for more..." said Sayer.

Update 10/27/05 - STRIKE ONE - The judge tossed out GG's request for a temporary restraining order, telling them he saw little to no chance they could prevail in their request for a permanent injunction so he saw no reason to issue a temporary restraining order. They have requested and been granted a hearing on the permanent injunction on Nov. 18th., but the judge said he was skeptical that GG could convince him to issue such an injunction.

In the meantime the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the entire suit based on the California SLAPP statute which will prevent any additional motions or progress in the case until their SLAPP motion has been heard. For more on the SLAPP statute see http://www.casp.net/

Sayer had this to say about the SLAPP motion, "The nice thing about this is that it refocuses the issue back where it belongs, on whether our actions were an issue of free speech and whether the lawsuit was simply an attempt to use the courts to harass us and try to squelch public discussion. And from our perspective, it means they will pay for our defense when we prevail. Of course their attorney's assured us they would prevail, despite already having lost another SLAPP case to the Press Enterprise, engendering a $51,000 judgment, money coming straight out of the dog's mouths, so to speak. I sure hope their attorneys are working pro bono, otherwise GG is going to be losing a lot of money in all this. I'd hate to think they wasted money on something like this, again, rather than spending it on the dog's care."

Update 11/18/05 - STRIKE TWO - The hearing was held this morning on the request for a permanent injunction preventing us from publishing our website under the following names, gentlegiantsrescue.org, gentlegiantsrescue.net, and gentlegiantsrescue.info. As we expected, the judge ruled in our favor, stating that the court could not and would not enjoin speech, and that the plaintiffs had not shown that our use of these domain names has had any significant financial impact on GG.  Interestingly enough, Burt Ward testified personally, claiming we are costing them $10,000 a month at this point. But he failed to provide adequate documentation to support this claim. Given that GG has still not filed its 2004 tax return, this is not surprising, even if one believes his claims.

Update 2/21/06 - STRIKE THREE - Well the case is now officially over. The judge has dismissed GG's lawsuit. The judge granted the defendants' SLAPP motion and dismissed GG's case while also requiring GG to pay for their defense costs. This is now the second time GG has had a defamation suit tossed out. In 2003, they sued the Riverside Press Enterprise, which had written about environmental issues stemming from water running off their property with a high fecal content. That suit was also dismissed based on a SLAPP motion. It seems GG has a hard time accepting what the law is.

Defendant Sayer has now filed a suit charging the Wards, GG, and the legal team that represented them, with malicious prosecution. By definition, a SLAPP suit is a misuse of the legal system to try and interfere with someone's rights. Sayer says he intends to drive this message home with his suit, in the hopes that GG will finally understand that bullying people, especially by misusing the legal system, is simply not acceptable. Sayer said, "GG can not continue to ride roughshod over people. They have to start treating their dogs and the public fairly. They can not continue to neglect dogs, mislead the public, and hide it all with threats of lawsuits every time someone says something against them."
Dog rescue shelter called unhealthy

NORCO: Actor Burt Ward's facility is substandard, council members are told.

12:24 AM PDT on Friday, June 3, 2005

NORCO - About a dozen dog rescuers from Southern California appeared before the Norco City Council on Wednesday, accusing a local shelter of keeping animals in substandard conditions.

At a council meeting, the group asked city leaders to revoke the operating permit for Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, a nonprofit rescue shelter at the home of Burt and Tracy Ward. . . .

Read the entire story here

L.A.County Says No to GG
From the internet - 6/14/05

Los Angeles County Animal Control has stopped sending dogs to Gentle Giants Rescue located in Norco CA. This means that, in addition to the Norco shelter, all six of the L.A. Co. shelters will no longer be sending any dogs to GG or to anyone at their address. According to Ron R. Edwards, Deputy Director County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control "I have directed our six County of Los Angeles Animal Care Centers to discontinue adoptions to Gentle Giants until an investigation is complete as to the allegations made about their organization.  Norco Animal Control is currently investigating the complaints and I will be in touch with them to determine if and when we are able to resume adoptions to them once again."  Mr. Edwards went on to say, "We do all that we can to make sure that the animals that we adopt are going into the best possible environment and until we know that those requirements are being met, we will not be adopting to Gentle Giants.. And Mr Edwards urged everyone, "If you have specific information about Gentle Giants (positive or negative), I would encourage you to contact the Norco Animal Control at (951) 737-8972 to share your information with them if you haven't already."


Update 9/29/05
Our understanding is that LACAC is still not releasing dogs to GG but that they have received requests from GG to be allowed to pull dogs again. We've been told that at this time this is still under review. We will update this as info becomes available.

And while GG has passed it's inspection with Norco AC now, the people there that we have spoken with are still not entirely satisfied. There are no ongoing official Norco AC investigations that we know of at this time, however they tell us they are going to continue to closely monitor the situation out there.

Update 12/23/05
Well it seems LACAC is now willing to release dogs to GG. They do not have Adoption Partner status, and must pay full price if they get a dog in their own name. But they are also using others who do have Adoption Partner status to pull dogs for them at the reduced rates. We aren't quite sure why LACAC has elected to work with them at all, and we will look into this further.
KCET's Huell Howser Says Show Probably A Mistake

From: Huell Howser <huell@calgold.com>
Subject: Re: Gentle giant not so gentle
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 09:00:58 -0700
To: Alexis Montgomery <montgomeryalm@...>

Thank you. We have received lots of emails like yours, and are considering our
options. If we knew then what we now know... we probably would not have done
the show.

This just in.....

We have not yet been able to authenticate this, but it has been reported on the Danes On Line Forum that the following reply was received from Huell Howser.

Yes, that show has generated more negative mail than any other in our
history. I doubt I will ever re-air it.

Huell


Update 9/27/05
We have not confirmed this, but according to some sources Huell and the folks at his production company have tried to backtrack on these comments. We have been unable to verify the comments posted on Danes On Line, because the original email was apparently deleted by its recipient, but the person who made them swore to one of our members that the comments above are accurate.
GG looking to Offload Dogs

Dateline: Norco, California  Friday, June 24th, 2005
The Roars Coalition

We have been monitoring activity out at GG for some time now, and in the last couple weeks, since that newspaper article came out, GG has been offloading dogs at a furious pace. This offloading is not normal practice for GG and despite their claims, there has been no evidence of any recent influx of dogs. Quite the opposite, the Roars Coalition has been making sure we intercept as many dogs as possible, to prevent them from ending up at GG. All the evidence we see points to the fact that their intake numbers have been lower than normal for the past several weeks. Additionally, they have repeatedly claimed to take in an average of 20 dogs per week. Based on what they say in the email below, sent out by one of their adopters, they are now claiming the got in 80 dogs over the last 3 weeks, and that this huge increase in the number of dogs taken in, is why they have so many dogs. 80 dogs in three weeks averages out to 26 dogs per week, which is not all that much more than their 20 dogs per week average. Certainly not enough to create the sort of overpopulation problem they claim to suddenly be experiencing.

None the less, they are casting a net far and wide, desperately looking for anyone who can take some dogs off their hands. They have been contacting groups and individuals. They even have their adopters out beating the bushes looking for people to help them move dogs off the property. It seems that they now realize a full site inspection is inevitable, and that they must get their house in order and get their numbers down to the CUP mandated 55 dogs. We know they have already moved a number of dogs. We think perhaps as many as 30 or more. And they are claiming at this point to have around 120 dogs still on site, again, based on what they say in the email below.

At any rate, we wanted to alert people to this, and to make sure that if anyone or any group does take any dogs from them, they make sure to get paperwork documenting chain of ownership, and vaccination and spay/nueter certificates. They are required by their CUP to have this documentation on hand for inspection. And all dogs over 4 months of age that are being adopted must, according to their CUP, be spayed/neutered and vaccinated for rabies. If you are adopting a dog, do not leave without proof of these two things. Do not accept promises to send them later. Historically these promises are often not met. And please take any sick or injured dogs coming from them to a vet immediately. Try to get vet records if you can (based on past performance we doubt you will be able to, but try). And quarantine your pet, even if they do not seem sick. There is a reason their contract calls for the dog to be completely isolated from everyone but immediate family members for 2 weeks after adoption (i.e. quarantined), but from what we have seen it appears it has very little to do with bonding, as explained in the contract.

If you do take a dog or dogs from them, please contact us and let us document the dog's condition and create a paper trail on the dog. We have at least one report of a reported stolen dog being placed by GG. The dog was already mircochipped when he got to GG, and that chip had him listed as stolen.  When the adopters found out they did contact the original owner, BTW. GG presumably has a contract with Avid to scan all incoming dogs (all rescues in their program must agree to this). So it seems they either were not abiding by their contract with avid, or they knew the dog was chipped and simply ignored that. We can not stress strongly enough that one of the major issues with GG is record keeping. There is virtually none, and this allows all sorts of undesirable things to pass unnoticed. Again, their CUP requires them to track all dogs and create a paper trail from intake to adoption. This is to protect the adopters as much as anything. And at this point, this is just not happening. This is one of Norco AC's biggest concerns and complaints.

We are not discouraging people or rescues from taking dogs from them, quite the opposite, we would like to see as many dogs "rescued" as possible. We just want to be sure it is done safely and that all the dogs are properly accounted for. However, we do need to alert people that the claims in the letter, and on their website that all their dogs are trained and housebroken, is just not supported by the evidence. Again, not discouraging people, just want to make sure people are not going into something blindly. You may well get a wonderful dog, they do have many. But you may also get a dog with undisclosed health and/or behavioral problems, and you need to be prepared to accept and deal with that eventuality. If anyone finds they are unable to keep a dog they get from GG, but they are unwilling to return it to them (a feeling we fully understand), the Roars Coalition will be more than happy to take the dog and get it into a reputable rescue.

Oh, one last thing. we want to point out here that we have consistently talked about the rescue and not the Wards themselves. This is not personal for us. Despite what they may claim *we* are not making this personal. We are simply focusing on a rescue whose practices concern us and many in the animal advocacy/animal care field deeply.  

And here is a copy of the email we referred to earlier:

> Hello All...I'm writing to plead with you to please help place some amazing
> dogs that are suddenly in need of a home. The place where my Great Dane,
> Maxwell, came from...Gentle Giants, run by Burt and Tracy Ward, usually
> takes about 40 Danes at a time, and now they have expanded to all sorts of
> giant breeds (borzois, wolfhounds, danes, mastiffs, many others). In the
> past three weeks they have received over 80 dogs. It is an emergency
> situation, and they would be so thankful to even have you foster a dog
> temporarily. It has cost them over $20,000 in medical and transportation,
> plus $3000 a week now for boarding. They usually keep 40 in their
> house...but the additional 80 is just too much to handle.
>
> You can even just take one home for awhile...it would be a great help...and
> they are amazing dogs!
>
> Please, please, please pass this on to anyone you know who is considering
> adopting, or even fostering, or who would maybe be able to contribute
> financially. Danes and borzois are both wonderful breeds...so loving and
> sweet, with great personalities, who don't take up much space at all. You
> don't need a big house or yard...Max has been happy for over two years here
> in my apartment. They just need love and a place to feel safe.
>
> Tracy and Burt are both expert trainers and all the dogs are housebroken and
> behave very well. Some of these large breeds (esp. the Danes) actually
> require less care and exercise than very small dogs...they are easygoing and
> sweet.
>
> Please email Tracy directly at tracy@gentlegiantsrescue.com...and put at the
> top of the email "Elizabeth sent me, I can foster" or "Elizabeth sent me, I
> can adopt", etc. She is contacting all of the people who have adopted from
> her in the past, and since I can vouch for each of you, just tell her I sent
> you so she knows.
>
> Her website is: www.gentlegiantsrescue.com
>
> Also, the rescue will be featured on Huell Howser's PBS program on June 29th
> at 6pm. Please pass the word on and help out these pooches...and the great
> people who have been running this rescue for many years. Burt, by the way,
> played Robin on the Batman tv series.
>
> Thank you!!!!
>
> Elizabeth

Update 9/29/05
With 3 months to prepare, it seems that GG was able to offload or foster out enough dogs, and to properly prepare for an inspection. According to a letter displayed on GG's website, a successful inspection was performed on 8/16/05 and apparently they were finally able to meet the terms of their CUP. We do not have the full backstory yet, but we are working on that. If this is the full and accurate story, we could not be happier. Our goal has always been to protect the animals. If the pressure we have brought to bear has really improved conditions at GG, and the plight of all the animals under their protection, we are very, very happy. If this is not quite what it seems, we will find out and let people know.

Update 10/03/05
According to Rescue Watchdog's sources, Norco AC have still not been allowed to do an unannounced inspection. While they were finally allowed to do a full site inspection, GG was given plenty of advance notice. They had lots of time to prepare for the inspection. On a positive note, we were told that they were finally able to inspect the entire facility, and that at the time of the inspection GG was in complete compliance with their CUP, that they were within their legal limit of 55 dogs, that the dogs all looked healthy, and that they had the proper paperwork for all the dogs on site. They did tell Norco AC that they did have some dogs at an off-site location, but did not disclose the exact location or number of dogs. It seems that because that location is outside Norco AC's jurisdiction, they are unable to investigate further.

The claim in the email quoted above that the Wards are both expert trainers, has left us wondering exactly what that means. No where have we seen them offer documentation of, nor are we are aware of, any background or education in animal behavior or training. Nor have we seen any proof of expertise such as certification, or success in any organized dog training fields. They are not members of any professional organizations that we know of. So we have to ask, just what makes them "experts?" Several claims they have made on their website and elsewhere have lead us to conclude that far from being experts, they apparently have little real understanding of dog psychology and/or behavior, and are not particularly competent trainers.

Tiergan to undergo surgery today

Monday June 13th, 2005 - Hayden ID

Tiergan, a dog rescued from his "rescuers,"  is now finally getting the medical attention he has needed for so long and not been able to get from the rescue he was originally with. Tiergan's journey to safety started several weeks ago, when he was adopted from a Southern California rescue, to get him out of the rescue and see to it that he got the care he needed. And it has culminated in his arrival at a rescue in Idaho this last weekend. Along the way he was transported and fostered by three other rescues and his adopter. Tiergan is slated to go under the knife today to have his now useless leg removed. The surgeons will try everything they can to save the leg, but the prognosis is not good. Owing to his not getting medical care after a trauma of some sort dislocated his right hip (maybe being hit by a car), Tiergan has suffered what is believed to be permanent nerve damage. The Vet believes that had he gotten medical care soon after the accident, that he could have made a full recovery. Instead he was left to drag his useless leg around for so long that the nails were worn completely away, and the skin on the top of his foot was abraded almost to the bone. In addition to being left to drag his leg around, it is clear that Tiergan has been suffering from malnutrition for some time. He is grossly underweight, even after several weeks on a diet designed to fatten him up. He weighed around 70 lb. at the time of adoption and was still only 90 lb. when he went in for surgery to remove his leg. He is also fighting a systemic infection that has been making his face swell. Thanks to the actions of an adopter who saw the need to get Tiergan out of the original rescue, and other rescues who realized that Tiergan's only hope for a relatively normal life was for them to take this dog and get it the help it needed, Tiergan at least has a fighting chance now. The original rescue, far from being ashamed, is now trying to force the rescues involved to turn Tiergan back over to them. One has to wonder where their concern was when they had him.
Video clips of Tiergan
Clip #1 - at the vet's this morning (best with broadband internet connections)
Clip #2 - a segment of Clip #1 (for those of you on slower internet connections)
Clip #3 - the day he arrived at the new rescue (best with broadband internet connections)
Clip #4 - His first day walking after surgery (really big file, we're working on compressing it
but for now it takes a long time to download, sorry)
Tiergan updates - A Week in the Life...

5:30 PM Monday 6-13-05

"He is being transferred to the 24 "Emergency Clinic" so that he can receive pain medication during the night. The vet just called, Tiergan is cold, dehydrated, tacky, his face is swelling. He has been given Morphine, antibiotics and fluids and they are currently trying to warm him."

8:30 AM TUESDAY 6-14-05
Tiergan was transferred back to our vet this morning. Tiergan is off IV Fluids! He even ate breakfast! In the past 1/2 hour Tiergan has made several attempts to stand! The vet warns us, he is going to have to realize his leg is gone and he will have to learn to walk with out it. She says this can take a few days.

3:45 PM TUESDAY 6-14-05
Tiergan is making progress, he has even eaten a few cookies today! He is still being carried outside to go potty. But he is happy to lift his head for anyone that needs to be pet! Everyone that meets Tiergan falls in love!

 
10:00 AM Wednesday 6-15-05
Today Tiergan is doing even better! The vet staff was carrying him outside to go potty. Today he is up and walking (well almost) they are using a towel as a sling, balancing him so he can learn how to negotiate the world with 3 legs. Once again we are told he is the sweetest dog ever!  -  11:00 AM  He has taken a few steps on his own!!!!!!!!

3:00 PM Wednesday 6-15-05
I went to visit Tiergan today, I was shocked, 1st at the sight of him and 2nd at his progress! He is so much happier! He just wants to go play now! He is still at the vet resting. They are watching his leg, giving pain meds and antibiotics.
They still have $510 in vet expenses they owe. 


Friday 6-17-05
"The plan" is we will be sending Tiergan to a foster home on Saturday. He will be leaving the vet! We anticipate he will be in rescue for a while. He will have to learn how to do everything all over again. This will take nothing but time, and a lot of Love and TLC from his foster mom!

Saturday 6-18-05
Tiergan is in his new foster home. He is making more and more new friends everyday. Everyone who meets him is amazed by what a sweet, gentle, joyous soul he is. The muscles on his left rear leg (his good leg) have atrophied badly (which is a good indicator of just how long he has suffered with his paralyzed leg) and it is going to take time for him to rebuild muscle, as well as to relearn to walk, etc.  But, as always, he is just thrilled to see a new day and meet some new people. He is in an experienced foster home of IGDR. This foster home has had a 3 legged dog before. We are all very excited! Tiergan is already getting attached, following his foster mom from room to room. We all have contributed so much to making this happen, some gave time, some drove, some gave money until it hurt! BUT THE FOSTER MOM is the one who we all need to send our extra hours of sleep to!
 
Thank you Mary Beth for the countless hours of un-rest you are about to receive!
 
Mary Beth writes:
"When people ask me how I can do this tough job, taking a dog, who many times has been neglected, abused or just plain abandoned, and watch them blossom into a great family pet after a few weeks here only to see them leave, I tell them this: It's about the dogs, not about me. My temporary sadness or pain is a small price to pay to help a dog find the forever home she or he deserves."      Mary Beth

Sunday 6-19-05
Tiergan's foster mom writes: "He is fitting in well here at our house, and has even learned to go up and down short flights of stairs. Loud voices (even happy loud voices) make him nervous, and he sits down and crouches as if he's going to be in trouble. He is better with women than men, although as long as I am around, he is fine with my husband. Otherwise, he is a bit fearful and as a result, we know it will take a little longer for him to trust my husband completely, or any man for that matter. The good news is, he is very food motivated. Tiergan will need an experienced, dog-savvy home with someone completely committed to patient, positive-method only training. He gets along with the greyhound and two italian greyhounds at my house He bonds very, very quickly (when I picked him up from my friend who transported him, he darted quickly towards her as we loaded the car with his things and were trying to get him in my vehicle. She hadn't seen him before she transported him). It is apparent he is not used to kind treatment from people, and anyone who treats him kindly and gently is rewarded with a very grateful, truly loyal friend...just remember, it will take a little longer for men than it will for women. This sweet boy has had enough upheaval in his short life. Are you the one who could give Tiergan his forever happy ending?"


Monday 6-20-05
Tiergan has completely accepted his foster dad, who stayed home all day with him, and just let Tiergan take his time. It paid off! Tiergan now seeks out his foster dad for ear rubs, and he loves to lean on him. He loves to cuddle, and eats up affection. Medicine time (peanut butter sandwich time to Tiergan) are his favorite times of the day, other than meal time, of course. His foster parents are feeding him three times a day, to get him the extra nutrition he needs. He loves his vitamins, too. His mobility improves every day, and tonight when his foster mom came home from work he got all excited and twirled and spun around in excitement. He is really blossoming.
 


Friday 6-24-05
Tiergan is back in surgery this morning to put a drain tube in. He has developed a fluid build up.

Sunday 6-26-05
Tiergan is doing a little better today. He is still rather tired and sleeps a lot. His drain tube? There is just no way to say this.... it's nasty.... but it is doing the trick for now. Keep your fingers crossed.


Tuesday 6-28-05
Current weight with only 3 legs - 91 pounds! That's more than he weighed when he got here with all 4 legs! (and around 20 lb. more than he weighed when he was adopted from GG) Tiergan is scheduled for his 3rd surgery! His leg is healing, the drain tube is working. He has been on antibiotics for several weeks, and the swelling in his face has gone down. We are now able to detect that he needs a 3rd surgery, this time for Entropion. The surgery is scheduled for 7-1-05.  Entropion is a surgery performed on the eyelids.  We are left wondering why the vets who supposedly saw him at his original rescue did not detect and correct this. It was obvious as soon as he was otherwise healthy. There seems to be 3 choices, despite claims to the contrary he was never seen by a vet, the vet saw the problem and the rescue elected not to correct it or to disclose the problem to the adopters, or the vet never saw Tiergan healthy enough to identify this condition and the rescue placed him even though he was still sick, again without informing the adopters. No matter how you slice it, it just does not sound good to us.

7-2-05 Update!               "look no ribs"! --------------->
"Surgery is scheduled for next Friday. I didn't want him to have it the this Friday, before a long weekend, in the unlikely event of complications. He is getting along great! Really starting to show his fun-loving, somewhat
mischievous personality. He likes to chew on stuff....got ahold of a plastic container I use to take my lunch to work, and chewed on one of my cheap flip flops, though not a whole lot. We have plenty of chew toys around, including nylabones, regular bones, booda bone rope toys, and he likes 'em all. I think he may have slight tendencies toward mild separation anxiety....but he has not been alone for any length of time. My husband is taking the summer off so is home all day w/the dogs. We weren't sure if we could trust him loose in the house so we gated him in the utility room with the italian greyhounds (who are crated when we aren't home...) with a bed and plenty of chew toys. He knocked the gate down the first time, so the second time we closed the door. The utility room is very large but he didn't like that .... knocked the gate down & scratched the door a bit, as well as bent a vent through the wall. No major destruction or anything....one of our greyhounds had HORRIBLE separation anxiety but worked her way through it, and I think when he realizes he's not being left permanently he will be fine. As far as socializing w/other dogs, Joel and I both agree for first week or so he should be supervised 100% with the other dogs. This isn't because he even tried anything bad here ..... he's been absolutely good as gold with everyone.....but because I think he needs to feel secure the other dogs are his friends, and are not going to steal his food or beat him up or hurt his leg. He still gets very worried when voices are raised, which is about never here, like when I said nonononono to him when I found him with the food container. It about broke my heart to see him crouch down and lower his head as if I was going to strike him. I just took the container away and gave him a nylabone, and he acted as if he was afraid to chew on the nylabone! I reassured him and let him know it was OK to chew on the nylabone, but it took a bit. He is very cuddly and loves hugs and snuggling. I cuddle up with him on his dog bed on the floor and he is just in heaven! He couldn't be nicer"

Update 9/25/05
Tiergan was adopted this summer and is doing very well in his new home. Without the dead weight of his useless leg, he is able to run and play just like any other dog. - GG promised to send the purported vet records to Idaho Great Dane rescue several months back, but as far as we know, they have still not done so. Our understanding is that as of now there is no available documentation to support their claims that he was seen by a vet or that the vet felt it was best not to remove the leg. They have posted a "story' on their website about this and how they saved him and cared for him, in response it would seem to the info we have related here. We would really like to see this documentation ourselves, but so far it has been harder to locate than an honest politician. We will keep trying, and if we ever do get our hands on it and can verify it, we will gladly print a retraction and apology.

Sad News - Tiergan's new owners had to have him put to sleep in November. His left hip was failing and he was in considerable pain. It was not medically clear if this problem was exacerbated by his having to drag around his paralyzed right leg for so long or not, but that certainly seems to most of us to have been a major factor. Whatever the case, the added strain of his left hip having to support his entire back end led to the hip failing. This had always been a concern for the team that was overseeing his treatment, but the only other responsible option was euthanasia and none of us were ready to give up on him without giving him some sort of chance. Of course he wouldn't have needed to have his right leg amputated if he had gotten proper vet care at the time of the original incident. So his death can clearly be attributed to the fact that he did not receive timely professional veterinary care following the accident that dislocated his right hip. It ws a very difficult decision for his new owners and we thank them not only for giving him a a chance, and a loving home for as long as was possible, but also for making the hard decision when it was time.



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