It’s been a bit hectic at Almost Home Foundation the past couple of weeks. The suburban rescue took in 35 dogs when the Puppy Parlor – a pet store and puppy mill – closed its doors on February 24 after being the focus of protests for well over a year. As the organization works to get the dogs ready for adoption, they are also working on raising funds to help pay for the veterinary care incurred by the rescue.
The Puppy Parlor had been cited by the Humane Society of the United States as being one of the 100 worst puppy mills in the United States. It also the focus of an HSUS investigation of Chicago pet stores linked the pets sold in stores back to puppy mills. In the time since, the Puppy Parlor was subject of almost daily protests by the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS).
Puppy Parlor rescues
“We had previously connected with a woman a couple of years ago that had been hoarding dogs and had rescued and rehomed 22 of her dogs,” says Chuck Hanson, one of the founders of Almost Home Foundation. “She knew the owner of the pet store. She was able to connect us to her so that the dogs could be rescued and given a chance at a better life.”
For over a year, CAPS volunteers and supporters of the West Suburban Humane Society appeared at the Puppy Parlor almost daily for protests about the store. According to reports from the Illinois Department of Ag, the HSUS and others, Tammy Coglianese had cages stacked four high in her back room where she was breeding small dogs for the store.
“When we first connected with the store’s owner, she had 40 dogs in the store and we offered to take them all immediately,” adds Hanson. “She wasn’t ready to give them all up. We did the rescue in three phases. In the end, some of the breeding females weren’t turned over to rescue. We have heard that at least one has had a litter of puppies.”
Hanson points out that when a mill closes, the mothers are the last to leave because they can still generate revenue. In this case, Coglianese has not lost her license with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. That opens the door for her to breed and sell more dogs.
Getting ready for adoption
After the rescue, Almost Home Foundation immediately went to work getting the dogs cleaned, groomed and checked out by a veterinarian. One of the first dogs rescued had a broken femur, which has been repaired. All the dogs needed to be spayed and neutered and there were dogs with tick and Lime Disease. Folgers pictured at the top of this story had surgery for hip dysplasia. Dogs had foot problems and other health issues associated with living their lives in cages.
“They were in pretty good shape considering and were more social than we expected,” said Hanson. “We had a pen set up where we took the dogs after rescue. The last group bounced around and played and had a great time once they were let loose. It was so beautiful it made some of us cry. Many of the dogs do have housetraining issues, which is common for puppy mill rescues.”
There were a variety of small breed dogs at the pet store – pugs, Shih Tzus, Lsasos, poodles and puggles. Dogs ranged in age from 8 months old to 3 or 4 years old. Although the pet store also had a grooming parlor, it appeared that the only times dogs were groomed is when they were about to be put on the floor for sale.
Fundraising for the Puppy Parlor rescues
When all is said and done, the cost for the rescue is expected to be between $10 and $15 thousand. Almost Home has started an online fundraiser to help pay some of those bills. The group will also be hosting a Texas Hold ‘em and a Vegas-style impersonator event to raise funds for the rescue as well. The Vegas-style event is slated for April 5.
“This is a red carpet event that will feature professional impersonators from Vegas – Joan Rivers, Brittney Spears, Elvis, The Blues Brothers and many more,” says Hanson. “The entertainers are volunteering their talents so that we can have a great show to raise funds for some of the vet bills we’ve incurred. It’s a great show and a great way to help the dogs.”
More details and tickets are available online. The event will be held at the Meadows Club at 2950 Golf Road in Rolling Meadows from 6 to 10 p.m. Single tickets are $75 and VIP tickets that include two drinks are $95. There is also a VIP table of 10 for $700. Doors open at six with reception from 7 to 8 and dinner and show after that.
The Texas Hold ‘Em will be at the Real Time Bar and Grill on May 3 starting at 7 p.m. Real time is at 112-=22 West Devon in Elk Grove Village. The buy-in is at $100 and there will be prizes for the top players.
Some of the dogs from this rescue have already been adopted into their forever homes.
“We’re glad we’ve been able to do this,” says Hanson. “So many smaller rescues step up to hel and end up in trouble because they don’t have the fundraising and connections in place. We have great relationships with our veterinarians and we work on events that will help us rescue more animals.”
Almost Home Foundation got its start after Hurricane Katrina when a group of people brought a van full of donations to New Orleans. They came back with 40 dogs and have rescued and adopted out dogs and cats ever since. Learn more about the rescue online and their Facebook page.
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