The following is bit and pieces of a log put together through project hope. It was only a degree below freezing, but the chill factor was stiff. But, there was no protection for the mostly short-haired thin dogs, many of whom were chained, each hooked to a foot length chain attached just a foot or so apart, on chains as long as twenty feet. They were hooked to six inch straps attached to a common tether. Even the dogs still in metal dog boxes shivered. I spotted two dead juvenile rabbits. As I approached to snap a shot he rapidly grabbed them by their ears and slung them in a white plastic onion sack. As one of his helpers moved another cage I spotted a chicken that had clearly been pecked to her death in her crowded cage. This time he did not note my movement, but clearly realized the bird would catch my eye and added her to his bag before I could make my way through the stacks of cages. The pit pups had had their ears cut without stitching. They were still bloody on the edges. The two younger men proudly selling them likely performed the cropping. As I spoke with them they said that they knew that some of the pups they had sold were clearly going to be fought. It bothered them, but the bucks were their bottom line. It was time to visit the \"dead pen\" as it was once called. It is now called the \"free pen\" to make visitors think that the pen was set up for kindly purposes. The fact is that the two small cyclones pens at the back of the \"dog yard\", as I have heard it called, are for throwaway dogs and pups. The dogs used to be shot after the event was over. It is only in recent years that three local women took on the task of trying to aid these dogs. They call themselves a humane society, but they have not achieved non-profit status. Their shelter has been the focus of much criticism. They clearly care, and try to do their best, but it falls very short of acceptable. The dogs are taken to their meager shelter, which consists of a tiny building, which the pups are kept in. The larger dogs are kept in a large cyclone fence without any separations. Without the funding for euthanasia the dogs are often overcrowded and must go without needed medical care. This disgrace is directly attributable to the overflow of the problems of the monthly Ripley event. Dogs that are not worth feeding for the next month simply get left behind. I was amazed when I found a tiny chow/heeler mix in the pen. The little guy was barely six weeks old. I asked around and the neighboring dealers said he was up for grabs. I need say no more. A poorly Akida I had spotted in the pen earlier was gone. I was waiting for word that it was okay to take him. I kept up my rounds until I had rescued two pups, two adults, and a juvenile dog. I was upset because separating them for health reasons, and the limitation of the carriers I could use in the cold weather meant that I could not rescue the pig. Truly she was but one of many animals that needed rescuing -106; most of them did, but I had noted her, and her plight would not leave me alone. I noted one of the vendors shaking a plastic onion bag as if he were settling something to the bottom to make more room. I watched in amazement as he stuffed a chicken, then another into the bag. The two men buying the chickens aided him by handing him more chickens to put in the sack. Now he was twisting the top of the sack and shaking it more. I lunged across the narrow road diving the rows, and within seconds was in their faces. I demanded that they immediately stop what they were doing and out the birds in transport cages. The buyers told me they would when they got to their van. I said no. They said okay, they would go to their van and put them in cages. I followed the short distance to the van they had parked behind the row. They clearly thought I wouldn\'t follow. There were no cages for the transfer. Now they said they would have to buy cages from another row. Knowing that the high body temperature of these birds can cause hyperthermia, I could only conclude that it was irrelevant to them because they were not going to keep them for eggs, or breeding, but were going to eat them no matter how they arrived at their destination. The sight of the stuffed breathing bags is lodged in my mind.
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