Darlene Mathews was at Tuolumne County Animal Control the other day picking up two dogs staffer Cathy Campbell had reserved for her.
Mathews, the founder of the rescue group Friends of the Animal Community, and Campbell work together every day to find new homes for abandoned dogs.
On that day, Mathews had arrived to pick up Archie and Abby, two Bishon-and-something mixes who had been kept in a chicken coop all their lives. Archie was so matted when he was brought it, an animal control worker took him to a vet for a bath and cut.
While Mathews was there, she noticed a man paying to have a litter of puppies euthanized. He was upset but had been told by other groups there was nothing to be done with them. The puppies probably had ringworm and it would cost thousands of dollars to get them well.
They were in a crate in his car with the air conditioning running.
Eight purebred American bulldogs, black and white with snub noses and big dark eyes, six weeks old.
“Animal control did not want to euthanize those puppies,” Mathews said.
Mathews asked the man to give her a couple of hours to find help for the dogs.
She went straight to Facebook.
Within a short period of time, 4,000 people had offered puppy food, donations for veterinary care, and one foster mom said she had a place she could keep them in isolation.
It won’t be known for sure that the puppies have ringworm until they go to the vet today, but Mathews said the lesions look like ringworm, round patches on the skin.
Ringworm is not actually a worm – it’s a fungus – that animals, and humans, can get by coming into direct contact with the fungus, according to the American Kennel Club.
The owner doesn’t know how the puppies came into contact with anything that would cause the spots, Mathews said. The mother dog was a house dog who had rarely been off the property.
“Everyday we’re in communication,” Mathews said of Campbell, the animal control staffer.
“She’s an advocate for us taking dogs out.”
So now eight puppies have a chance for new homes and lives once they’re well.
Oh, and Mathews wants folks to remember, Archie and Abby are ready now.