Not all animal “rescue” organizations are what they seem.
Take, for instance, Angel’s Gate, a self-proclaimed animal “hospice and rehabilitation center” in New York. Its founder, Susan Marino, was recently banned from having animals after being charged with 22 counts of cruelty to animals and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
The charges came after PETA’s undercover investigation at the facility revealed that — far from the haven it claimed to be — Angel’s Gate was an animal hoarding hellhole. Paralyzed animals were left to drag themselves around until they developed bleeding sores. One dog had a wound so deep that it exposed the bone. Animals were kept in urine-soaked diapers for days at a time, scalding their skin. Crowded, stressful conditions caused fights to break out daily. Sick and injured animals were denied veterinary care. One dog’s infected, rotten jaw snapped in half.
For years, people naively sent “special needs animals” to Angel’s Gate, believing Marino’s promise that they would “live out their days in peace, dignity and love.” Instead, they were unknowingly condemning their animal companions to a miserable existence of continuous deprivation, helplessness, suffering, and death.
Angel’s Gate isn’t an isolated case. There are hellish hoarding facilities across the country. Many adhere to staunch “no-kill” policies that result in animals being caged for years or left to die slowly and in pain.
If the line between “no-kill” animal “rescues” and hoarders seems blurry, it’s because many of these facilities are operated by people who compulsively accumulate animals, regardless of whether or not they are able to meet the animals’ basic needs. In fact, according to experts, “rescues” and “shelters” make up one-quarter of the estimated 6,000 new hoarding cases that are reported in the United States each year.
We can ensure that our faithful animal friends don’t end up in a hellhole like Angel’s Gate by never handing over animals to self-proclaimed “sanctuaries” or “rescues” and by supporting and using only reputable, open-admission shelters. Let’s also spay and neuter every animal we see to make it harder for hoarders to get their hands on another victim.