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Jun 022012

Here’s what Motley Zoo has been up to lately:


***Your vote can mean a car for Motley Zoo! Please go to and set a reminder to vote June 12th so that we can win a much needed transport vehicle for our pets!***

1) Go to
2) On home page, there’s a Facebook log in option (use your FB to login).
3) Click on the light-green “FINALISTS” tag to do a search for “MOTLEY ZOO”.
4) Click on the dog’s face to expand their profile.
5) Click on “REMIND ME” to received a reminder on June 12 to vote for MZ.
6) Click “CONFIRM”.

or you can join our “cause” and be reminded by us- and share easily too:



Recently Motley Zoo was asked to help in two different hoarding/ puppy mill situations. We have taken over 30 dogs (Chihuahuas and mini Australian shepherds) from sad and deplorable situations- both at least partially unintentional.

Sometime people get a dog or two, and don’t alter them, and they have a litter…they want to keep some of the dogs because they are “so cute”- and then because they are usually not fast enough (or can’t afford altering so many dogs) the litters have litters, and things begin to get out of control. This is typically no one’s intention, but sometimes people cannot distinguish between “loving” something, in what turns out to be a selfish way, and rationally recognizing their limits as pet guardians…especially financially.

In the case of the Chihuahua hoarding situation, it was exactly this- and older person, with a set income, who loved the companionship of these little 5lb Chihuahuas. But in keeping them, they ended up with 20- who were neglected, unsocialized and in major need of medical care. Some of the older dogs’ jaws had FALLEN OFF due to severe and advanced dental disease, and many had tumors or other serious medical issues. Almost all were scared and petrified little things, who had never really experienced life as a ‘real” dog before- and almost none are potty trained (as you can imagine trying to organize 20 dogs potty schedules would be incredibly hard for even an adept and able bodied individual).

We took in half of this brood, and have found loving homes for most of them. They were just a tad shy, most needed work on housebreaking, but were otherwise relatively unscathed- thankfully! You can see some of the happy tails here: as well as on our Facebook page: Pekoe, one of these dogs in particular, has his OWN facebook page: . You can tell he is very well loved 🙂

In the case of the mini Australian shepherds, the situation was much worse in terms of neglect and inhumane tratment, and this is where the frustration greatly increases for all involved. This was a case where there were over 50 dogs in a barn, living without going outside, perhaps some caged chronically, all without human touch and constantly breeding (unintentionally as well as intended)- and the person was selling the puppies. Mini Aussies as they are called, are popular dogs, and can go for quite a bit of money- and this person duped many people into buying his dogs…many ended up with terrible things wrong with them. This person was not breeding for the “love” of the breed, nor was he doing this responsibly or with any real care towards their living conditions or quality of life.

This is a news article about the case:

He was charged with this situation and the animals confiscated- which is where Motley Zoo came in to assist the shelters…but the saddest thing of all, is how he already had 3-4 other animal neglect/ cruelty cases in his past- and that whatever dogs he had in his home (vs the barn) the authorities were not able to take! The laws regarding animal care and cruelty just are not tough enough- and unfortunately legislation and prosecution for them, low on the list of priorities in government. People involved in animal rescue of course consider it a priority of course, and work hard to help raise awareness and to pass bills that will decrease suffering and increase spays/neuters- but we’re working in a society where people are just most often completely naive to the plight of many animals. Otherwise many do not think, or sometimes even care, where their cute puppy comes from- and this is hard to battle. Especially when people want what they want, are impatient and want it NOW, and nearly always want a puppy as opposed to an adult dog.

Here is another news feature on the mini aussie case:

So the shelter took the first response position, being able to treat and house large quantities of animals- which rescues almost never can, especially foster based rescues like ours. What this means we can only “fit” as many animals as people are able and willing to take into their homes and manage directly, as they would a pet of their own- we do not have a facility where we can keep even one dog that doesn’t directly have a foster lined up. We also normally have between 20-30 animals total- but in this instance, people really rallied for these dogs, and we took in almost half of the total the shelter accepted! This is quite a feat for us.

Motley Zoo exists to support the shelters- we take in animals when they are overflowing, when the pets have a medical or behavioral need that the shelter cannot accommodate- often this behavior is simply just being too shy and scared to be on the adoption floor. When the dogs are cowered and hiding, no one will adopt them this way, and they are considered “risky”, because their fear may inadvertently cause them to nip. However, take this same dog, and put them on a comfy couch in a foster home, and they are completely normal, well-adjusted and happy- this accurately describes most of our rescues. Most come from homes where people simply cannot afford their care, have lost their own homes, or lifestyles have changed (ie having a baby or moving, the top two reasons to give up a dog). Most rescue are very ready to find their next home, and have few serious issues.

When we take in puppy mill or hoarding dogs however, they are typically very reserved, hand shy (back up at the slightest movement or reach towards them) and they flop on the end of a leash, and don’t know where to potty. Some are worse than others- it seems often ironically, the oldest are usually pretty friendly and easy going- we think because they were once loved and treated well before things got out of control. The hardest are usually the middle aged, because they have sometimes had no human contact- not that they are aggressive (most are not), but just they are so unsure and fearful of everything- except dogs. The younger ones are typically pretty malleable, but you’d also be surprised how little time a dog needed to spend unsocialized to be  “quirky’ and affected for the time being.

The best thing though, is how none of this however is permanent- as socialization is something that you can work on at any time- and should! Many puppy mill dogs should not be considered any more challenging than a puppy- however people are often confused about age vs milestones. People often believe at that “this” age or ‘that” age, a dog just knows certain things- but they only know what someone teaches them. In these cases, no one was around to teach them except other dogs- so just about everything else is foreign. You will see a 1yr old dog acting/ knowing as much like a 3mo old puppy, because their initial development was stunted or nonexistent. Patience is the key to raising a puppy of any age, as well as working with a puppy mill dog- because often people’s unrealistic expectations become the barrier and frustration, rather than the dog itself. Dogs will learn what you teach them- no matter how old they are…but often people fail to teach them enough, or fail to communicate in a way that the dog understands. This is where as rescuers, we always advocate training and obedience, so that you can have outside help to be assured you are communicating your goals and desires to your dog effectively.

Rescuing a dog doesn’t mean you get a damaged or abused dog…and frankly as we will discuss in further blogs, most dogs people assumed have been abused, are actually not- but rather, lack of socialization mimics abuse. The dogs were not necessarily given the proper cues throughout their proper milestones- but this does not have to mean difficult or doomed dogs! Many people assume getting a puppy from a breeder or a pet store gives you a fresh start- but truly, the fresh start begins when you clear your mind of the idea that you must get a dog of a certain age or breed to find that clean slate. Sadly many people inadvertently write the wrong things on their puppy’s clean slate- and have no idea how or why their dog is aggressive or “doesn’t like other dogs” …thinking the dog just ended up this way, rather than they molded the dog exactly as they did. Even more sad is that many dogs are then also given up for this as well-something completely preventable…these are the harder cases we see in rescue honestly. The puppy mills and hoarding dogs can often be easier to work with than a dog that has been written on by an owner who ignorantly did the wrong thing at every turn…but thankfully this is the not the majority of the cases we see.





 Posted by at 11:01 am

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