SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

PetSmart Charities

March 23, 2011 20:48 ET

PetSmart Charities'® Emergency Relief Waggin'® Vehicle Assists More Than 150 Dogs and 40 Cats in Alleged Arizona Cruelty Situation

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - March 23, 2011) - PetSmart Charities has dispatched its Emergency Relief Waggin'® vehicle, stocked with $60,000 worth of crucial supplies to aid pets and rescuers, to the scene of an alleged animal cruelty situation in Witch Wells, a town in northeastern Arizona's Apache County. Approximately 150 large breed dogs and 40 cats are in need of emergency assistance and medical care. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the lead agency in this rescue.

When responders arrived, they found dog feces piled high in corners of the pens. Several dogs were near death, experiencing abnormal breathing and seizures. Other dogs had mange, and many had bite marks on their necks and faces, most likely from fighting over resources. Most had coats full of uncombed, dirty mats and sores.

"It is possible that this individual started with good intentions, but it is now clear that the she is unable to properly care for this number of animals, and we want to make sure they get the care they need," said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The HSUS. "We are grateful to all of the groups that came together to assist in this rescue and help give these animals a second chance at healthy, happy lives."

The 53-foot PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief Waggin' trailer and its 16-tons of cargo departed the PetSmart® Distribution Center in Phoenix, Ariz., bound for the scene, where animal-rescue teams will operate an emergency animal shelter. The vehicle is stocked with crucial supplies, including pet food, wire crates, plastic carriers, fenced kennels, clippers, bowls, leashes, fans, a generator, a battery charger and lights to aid the animal rescuers on scene.

"PetSmart Charities also dispatches a team of specially trained volunteers to the scene," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "The volunteers are able to unload supplies and set up the temporary shelter very quickly, enabling on-the-ground rescuers to immediately attend to the animal victims. We are happy to be able to assist in this way to help give these animals a second chance at finding a lifelong, loving home."

PetSmart Charities is a nonprofit organization and the largest funder of companion animal-welfare efforts in North America. It established the Emergency Relief Waggin' program in 2007 to help animals who are displaced and/or suffering as a result of natural or man-made disasters. To learn more about the Emergency Relief Waggin' program, go online to Members of the public who would like to support PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief Waggin' program can make a tax-deductible donation online. Funds raised will be used to aid pets affected by this and future Emergency Relief Waggin' program efforts.

About PetSmart Charities®

Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues, and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided $110 million in grants and programs benefiting animal welfare organizations and, through its in-store adoption program, helped save the lives of more than 4 million pets. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its Vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit or call 1-800-423-PETS.

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