By Mary Ann Bopp, Development Director, Pets Alive Middletown
Here at Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, we never know when we’ll get the next call about an animal in need. It could be any day or night; neglect doesn’t discriminate. Such was the case when we got a call on Tuesday, September 1. New York State Police arrested Steven and Loretta Doss of Port Jervis for failure to provide proper care for their animals following the investigation of a citizen complaint. Police discovered 48 rabbits, three horses, three cows, three goats, a pot-bellied pig, a dog, and a cat that were not properly cared for at a leased farm in Minisink where the couple housed the animals. The animals were seized and sent to various rescues and animal organizations for care – including Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.
(Please note that all pictures shown here were taken at Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary located at 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY.)
Our Farm Manager, Cindy O’Brien was quick on the scene after getting the call from Dr. Dinah Skorich from Pine Bush Equine, who was already at the location with New York State Police. They wanted us to take the horses. We have an 80-acre property with various barns and horse stalls and are one of the few rescues that have the ability to properly house and care for horses. This type of rescue is not new to Pets Alive. We have been involved with various animal rescues requiring our intervention and have partnered with local authorities as part of these other rescues.
It didn’t take long for Cindy and our Dog Manager, Juan Guitarrero, to pack up our truck and horse trailer and head over to the scene. Upon surveying the situation, Cindy first noticed the horses’ bodies – they were were severely underweight. Two horses were more underweight than the third and had body scores between 2.0 – 3.5 — a body score of 5.0 is considered a healthy weight with 9.0 on the high end. The horses and other animals were also living in a very confined and unsanitary space. It appeared it had been a while since the horses had roamed free in a larger space to graze.
While Cindy and Juan were there, they also helped contact other rescue groups to find placement for the other animals. Police were assisted by the New York State Environmental Conservation Police, the Humane Society of Port Jervis and Deerpark, Port Jervis Animal Control, the Port Jervis Building Inspector, Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, NY in addition to Pets Alive. We also called upon a local resident, Russell Hennig, who helped us transport the three horses. It was truly a team effort.
We are proud of our continued partnership with local law enforcement said Audrey Lodato, Executive Director. These types of relationships with local area rescue groups means that in a situation like this one, we can all move quickly to get the animals to safety. Speed of rescue can often make the difference between life and death for an animal in poor physical health. We’re happy we were able to assist in this seizure.
The Doss’ were issued appearance tickets to appear in Town of Minisink Court on September 21st at 5:00 PM and released. In the meantime, we will be caring for the 3 horses on our 80-acre property, and getting them back to good health. They will each have their own stall, a field to graze and plenty of space to spend a lazy afternoon soaking up the sunshine – and they will get the needed love and attention by Pets Alive staff and volunteers, something they have missed in a long while.
If you would like to help us care for these horses and bring them back to health, you can make a donation at Pets Alive, Attn: Horse Rescue, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940 or make an online donation by clicking HERE.