Precious Paws welcomes 22 dogs from Texas

Fourteen puppies and eight adult dogs – all aboard an air-conditioned truck – completed a four-day journey from Texas to Venango County, arriving at Precious Paws Animal Rescue on Wednesday evening.

All the dogs had been housed in kill shelters in the Houston area, according to Precious Paws President Theresa Weldon, whose shelter is no-kill. Some of the dogs are street dogs; animals that were left by their owners to fend for themselves.

“As the pet overpopulation in the Northeast seems to diminish, the opposite is happening in the South,” Weldon said.

“During COVID, everyone was getting pets to help them cope with the anxiety of being at home, and they were working from home; so they had more time to work with animals. In the South, it is the opposite effect. People were giving away animals.”

Another factor that contributed to the increase of animals that need homes was the order to stop elective surgeries during the pandemic, according to Weldon. That included spay/neuter procedures.

Weldon, a former Texan, made a connection with a rescue center in Texas that had an overabundance of animals.

“I knew that many of those animals just wouldn’t ever make it out of that shelter,” she said.

Two of the dogs, Weldon said, have heartworms, which can cost between $700 and $1,100 to treat. Some of the other dogs that arrived have skin conditions from poor nutrition or fleas.

“We have to be very careful transporting animals with transmissible diseases,” she said. “All of the dogs who came to us were tested for heartworm. We know which ones were positive,” and any dog that had contact with the infected dogs are on heartworm preventatives.

Weldon said the dogs were transported by Freedom Rides of Texas, which is an organization that transports animals across the country to help them find homes. The Bissell Pet Foundation, which is based in Michigan, paid the transportation fees.

“Our veterinarian spent all day (Thursday) going through and making sure we had a health plan for all of the dogs,” Weldon said. “We already got six of the dogs spayed and neutered.”

She said the dogs also were tested for heartworm and three tick-borne diseases, and many of the dogs already have been placed in foster homes or adopted.

“But we are always looking for foster families,” Weldon said.