Genie was missing hair and had red, irritated skin on her leg. An employee said that she would “probably always have it.” Dr. Christine Capaldo, a veterinarian, said, “In my professional assessment, the high number of dogs with areas of hair loss and callused skin is indicative that the dogs are chronically suffering from long-term excessive confinement, with limited opportunity for mobility and activity necessary for optimal health and welfare” [emphasis added].
Several dogs, desperate for attention and a respite from their near-constant confinement, sustained serious injuries when they wagged their tails enthusiastically against the metal wire of the enclosure. These injuries were sometimes so severe that they led to amputation, leaving dogs with just a “stub” of a tail. Staff said that it was “very common” for dogs’ tails to be injured. One staffer said that a Hemopet employee had broken a dog’s tail by shutting it in the kennel door, and that it was “dangling by a little nerve … just a string.” Another staffer said that a coworker approached her with a dog’s severed tail in his hand after a volunteer had shut the dog’s tail in a door, immediately severing it.
Other dogs tore their nails or cut their paw pads on the metal cages. One dog, Siesta, repeatedly broke her overgrown nails, causing her to bleed and limp in pain.
Dogs ‘Pay Rent’ in Blood
Workers took the dogs’ blood every 10 to 14 days. This exhausting cycle went on for 18 months or even longer, according to Hemopet staff. One employee said that workers even took blood from dogs with borderline anemia, a severe deficiency of the red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the body, which is what critically ill or injured dogs often require when they receive blood.
The eyewitness even found that Hemopet continued to collect dogs’ blood for several weeks after they had been approved for adoption—even though their new families were eagerly waiting for them—until newly arrived dogs took their place in the blood-drawing queue. One staffer said that the dogs, who obviously did not choose to live at Hemopet, “pay rent” with their blood.
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