NORFOLK, Va. — Among the new arrivals at the Norfolk SPCA are a group of huskies.
“We were completely caught off guard because it wasn’t planned. There were no arrangements. We were over capacity," said Executive Director Kimberly Sherlaw.
She said a third-party rescue dropped off three adult huskies and one puppy on Saturday night.
"The conversation didn't allow for details. They had no documentation, no medical records. Everything was basically hearsay with regard to the background of the animals. What we do know is that they were pulled from a backyard breeder in North Carolina," Sherlaw said.
Sherlaw recounted the dogs' conditions upon arrival and examination.
"We realized very quickly that the puppy was the number one emergency, based on how frail the puppy was," she said. "But the adults were all in visible rough shape. They were exhausted, they were weary ... We did run initial diagnostics to find that they were riddled with parasites, whipworms, hookworms – all are heartworm positive."
Moreover, Sherlaw said they took in two other huskies traced to the same breeder on Tuesday.
"Regrettably, one had to be euthanized. It was in such poor condition, labored breathing and near death. So, we made the most compassionate decision we could make [along with a veterinarian]," she said.
In all, Sherlaw described this as a big effort, estimating costs at $5,000 to $7,000 per husky, "including staff time, resources, the equipment and things used in veterinary care.”
Despite the challenges, Sherlaw said the team feels immense gratitude.
Following an online call to action, donors in the community are already pitching in what they can on the organization's HOPE fund. The Norfolk SPCA set its goal for the emergency fund at $25,000.
"They want to see a success story, just the way we do," Sherlaw added. “To say, 'We’re here, we’ve got you, we’re going to do this together.' So, we’re really pleased and humbled by that.”
A staff member is currently fostering the puppy. Sherlaw explained the other huskies still have months of medical care to undergo before the possibility of foster homes or adoption.