A Success Story

Rescue Update

Lynn Duckett, USKBTC Rescue Chair, is pleased to announce the AKC’s recent decision to suspend Carolyn F. Boughton (Nikiski, AK) from all privileges of the American Kennel Club for LIFE. In addition, a $5,000 fine was also imposed. This suspension followed Ms. Boughton’s civil court conviction for animal cruelty. The civil court also mandated that “she could not own another dog.”

According to the June 2004 Gazette, “due to the horrific conditions of the dogs and the deplorable conditions which they were kept, the AKC Management Disciplinary Committee recommended that the Board impose a penalty outside of the disciplinary guideline.”

Lynn Duckett, Bernie Kusch, along with so many other USKBTC members and others interested in the breed, contributed money, fostered dogs, wrote letters and never let the situation rest, until justice was served. Kerries benefit from the generous efforts of all those who help rescue dogs in need. Thank you.

Please read the article, , printed below, for some background information to this four year pursuit to justice.

A RESCUE IN STERLING, ALASKA

The Anchorage Daily News first reported this situation in September of 2000, which is when USKBTC rescue first became aware of the true depth of this situation. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Carolyn Boughton of Sterling, Alaska, had greater than one hundred dogs of various breeds in addition to some cats on her property. Some were reported to be chained to trees with no shelter, others were housed in an old Greyhound bus for shelter but still had no external heat source. The first report we had on this situation told of twenty-eight Kerry Blue Terriers.

The stories were almost too gruesome to believe! The thoughts of twenty-eight Kerries housed in wooden crates in an old Greyhound bus with no heat and little care kept many of us awake at night. Yet, reports kept coming in of this horrendous situation in Alaska for over a year before there was any hope of resolution!

This situation did not go unnoticed by animal rescue. Nancy Wall, a volunteer with the Anchorage SPCA, observed the situation and begged for help from the authorities. Diane Zarfoss of the Anchorage SPCA worked tirelessly to get those animals out. Yet, like so many other areas of the United States, Alaskan laws governing the care and housing of animals are weak to nonexistent. The sad truth of the matter was that this woman was not breaking any laws, even though her dogs were always cold and hungry and often sick. Several attempts were made by local rescue volunteers to get the dogs away from this woman because the neglect and abuse of these animals was obvious. Yet, being a typical animal collector, the owner felt no one could or would take care of her dogs as well as she did. So, she refused to surrender her dogs, claiming that she loved them all and wanted to keep them.

In late October of 2001, the situation became desperate for the dogs. Temperatures were at an all time low and the owner’s resources for food had been depleted. Finally, the SPCA employees could tempt the owner to give up the dogs by offering them warm shelter, plenty of food and much-needed medical care. Basically, the rescue volunteers and SPCA employees seized the first opportunity they had to get the dogs out after trying unsuccessfully for over a year!

This was the largest rescue ever done by the SPCA in this area. The cost of this rescue was enormous! On November 6, workers went out to the site to take food, bedding and fresh water for the dogs on the condition that the owner would voluntarily surrender the dogs as soon as appropriate shelter could be found. The number of dogs in need of rescue required a much larger facility than the existing Anchorage, Alaska shelter, so an empty warehouse was rented by the SPCA to temporarily house the dogs.

On November 8, the Anchorage, Alaska SPCA finally had legal possession of the dogs and cats. Unfortunately, some of the dogs were found dead at the scene. Many of the surviving dogs required intensive medical care at first to survive. Employees and volunteers worked around the clock for days to save these animals. All of the coated dogs were badly matted and would need to be shaved. These folks knew little, if anything about Kerry Blue Terriers or Bouviers, so could not begin to identify which dogs belonged to those breeds. They thought at first that several dogs were Kerry-Bouvier mixes because there had been rumors that the owner bragged she deliberately allowed the two breeds to mix.
USKBTC Rescue called on Berni Kusch to fly to Alaska to help identify which dogs were Kerries and which were Bouviers and to evaluate the condition of the dogs. Berni donated her time and paid her own expenses, other than the plane ticket, for this trip. She walked into a situation that a lot of us could not have tolerated and worked with the Alaskan folks that weekend to identify and evaluate the dogs. A portion of her report to USKBTC rescue follows:

“[I] just got back from Anchorage after seeing the 14 kerries up there. They are all very thin, but happy and friendly except one young dark male who is a bit shy.Six males, eight females.1 large light 4 year old monorchid that is dog aggressive. 1 large medium blue 4 year old that is undershot. 1 large 6 or so year old medium blue that has a downfaced head with pronounced temple bones. 1 medium small 2 or maybe 3 year old blue with dark points. 2 yearling very dark males, one is a bit hand shy. As for the girls. 1 large blue 6 year old that has had puppies.1 other 3 or 4 year old has had puppies also. The rest of the females I would say are their pups. The appear to be sisters of the two dark males. All of them seem friendly, happy to be with people, leash broken, and like to play with chews and kongs. The oldest males and the oldest female act like show dogs!!! They stack, bait and move like they know what they’re doing! Scary to think they might once have been shown…Thank you for having me go up there, it was an education.”

Aloha for now
Berni Kusch

The Anchorage SPCA felt strongly that the dogs could be better cared for in Alaska, leaving us with little to do except educate them over the phone and e-mail after Berni’s initial visit. So USKBTC rescue donated $1000.00 to them to assist with this rescue. While we would have gladly taken all these dogs in, it did make sense from a financial standpoint to leave the dogs up there. Airfare alone would have cost several hundred dollars per dog, even if the dogs were physically able to fly! Spaying and neutering would’ve cost several hundred dollars more for fourteen dogs! The Iams company took us seriously when we told them we needed a ton of food donated, and sent two thousand pounds of food to the Anchorage SPCA. Many thanks to Jeff Ansell for arranging for the food donation!

According to the Anchorage SPCA employees, all the dogs have been placed after being spayed or neutered except the three they’ve sent on to USKBTC rescue who were mentioned in the rescue update in this issue of Blueprints.

USKBTC rescue has a copy of the video taken during the rescue. This video was filmed by one of their employees, so it is amateurish but accurately depicts the conditions found at the site that day in November. If you’d like to order a copy of this video, you can purchase it for $18.00 from the Alaska SPCA at 549 West International Airport Road Suite B2, Anchorage, Alaska 99518.The $18.00 covers the cost of the video and postage only.

When all was said and done with this rescue, the Anchorage SPCA has had to borrow $25,000.00 to cover their expenses for these dogs in spite of the many donations of time, money , food and veterinary care. They worked long and hard hours in horrible conditions to take care of our breed. We’d love it if every club member could send even a small donation to help with their expenses.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Anchorage SPCA, you can send it directly to:
First National Bank of Alaska
P.O. Box 100720
Anchorage, Alaska, 99510-0720
Specify that the donation is for the Sterling, Alaska rescue, Account #01124650.

Last Updated: 06/05/2004, 3:52 pm