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Angela Speed, vice president of communications with the Wisconsin Humane Society, said the police department reacted quickly to the call after a Caledonia firefighter discovered 63 dogs, 8 cats and a pig living in deplorable conditions at Orphan Kanines, 1922 Kremer Ave., on May 29. The remaining animals were discovered inside two other residents.
Orphan Kanines owner Debra Gray faces 85 counts of animal mistreatment, 85 counts of having intentional improper animal shelter — sanitation, and operating an animal shelter without a license.
“The George D. Dalton Award is given to honor someone who has done something exceptional for animals and the Caledonia Police Department’s quick response helped save a lot of animals’ lives,” Speed said. “We decided the Orphan Kanines rescue was a no brainer.”
Those involved with the incident will be recognized at a dinner at Sept. 6 at the Pfister Hotel.
“It was really nice of them to honor us with an award,” said Lt. Gary Larsen, of the Caledonia Police Department. “But we were also impressed with how they handled the situation too. These were horrible conditions and they had things organized, and they were ready to respond.”
Of the 94 animals rescued — which included 80 dogs, 12 cats and two pigs from the shelter and two residents — all but four dogs survived. One dog died of having multiple old age disabilities and could barely stand, a puppy died of encephalitis and two dogs had aggression issues that the shelter felt it could not overcome. Four dogs are still available for adoption.
Two dogs are also receiving medical attention: a three-year-old maltese named Waffles just came back from having heart surgery and a 10-year-old Italian greyhound named Dante, who suffers from skin, dental, allergy and heart issues.
“He’s still very active, but he’s going for an echocardiogram to determine the extent of his heart murmur and to determine if he’s got cardiac or respiratory issues,” Speed said.
Most of the animals were adopted out on July.
“Reflecting on what happened, the community support was overwhelming from day one,” Speed said.