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New Year brings new homes for 31 basset hounds

Special to the Courier

The barks of joy were unmistakable in the yard at Hill Country Animal League on Tuesday, Dec. 27. They came from 31 basset hounds just rescued from an unfortunate situation in Sabinal.

Earlier in the week, an elderly couple, who had bred basset hound for more than 15 years, had contacted Sandee Bowman, president of the Bandera County Animal Welfare League, for help in placing their remaining dogs. Reportedly, 18 basset hounds had already been released to other breeders.

Currently, the couple, who are in their 80s, face chronic health problems which prevented them from continuing with their breeding operation. Their prime concern was seeing their remaining basset hounds were placed into good, loving homes.

Bowman contacted Jennifer Blackson of Hill Country Animal League (HCAL) in Boerne to help with the removal of the 31 basset hounds from Sabinal.

During the Christmas holiday, Bowman and Blackson also contacted their animal rescue colleagues to assist with the placement of the dogs once transported from Sabinal. Blackson called in the HCAL crew to facilitate rescue and provide medical oversight needed to insure the good health of each basset hound.

When Blackson and Bowman, along with Jackie Palmer, president of the HCAL Board of Directors, and other volunteers, traveled to Sabinal in the early morning hours of Dec. 27, they found a breeding facility in disarray. However, the elderly couple assisted as much as they were able with the rescue, knowing each of their dogs would find a good home.

All the hounds were registered with the American Kennel Club and have proven bloodlines, according to reports.

After the expedition returned to Boerne that afternoon, animal rescue and welfare organizations converged at the HCAL center on Main Street to assist with the animals.

In addition to AWS, headquartered in Pipe Creek, and Boerne's HCAL, participating organizations included ABC Basset Rescue of Austin, Helping Hands Basset Rescue of Round Rock, Collin County Humane Society in Fairview, Homeward Bound Animal Rescue in Bedford, Animal Defense League and Paws of Texas Rescue of San Antonio and Etosha Rescue and Adoption Center of Seguin. The collaborative rescue came together for the benefit of the dogs when they needed help the most.

By late that afternoon, the rescued Bassets had been bathed and given loving care, a medical checkup and preventative vaccines. According to Dr. Darr Wilson, most of the animals were in good general health, in spite of some instances of cherry eye and cataracts. Wilson served as HCAL director of veterinary services.

Prior to being adopted by loving, caring pet owners, the dogs will receive vaccinations, micro-chipping and be spayed or neutered.

As Alma Aguirre, HCAL interim executive director, noted, "The project mission was clear and accomplished. We wanted these 31 dogs to be healthy, happy and to enjoy good lives with their new adoptive families. To see this happen for all the dogs was pure joy."

For her efforts in the large rescue mission, Bowman received extensive coverage on San Antonio television newscasts and kudos from her fellow animal advocates in the group Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare (AAPAW).

For more information on the basset hounds, contact the Bandera County Animal Welfare Society at 830-751-2595, or the Hill Country Animal League, 830-249-2341 or hcalspca@gvtc.com or visit www.hcaltx.com.

"Please consider donating to nonprofit organizations that help animals in crisis," Aguirre added.

Donations are earmarked for finding homes for dogs and cats, providing low cost spay-neuter services, facilitating public education on pet care and removing animals from abusive, neglectful and hoarding situations.

"You can help stop pet homelessness before it starts through your kind gifts," Aguirre continued. "Visit, call, volunteer or donate now. Your assistance will work wonders for the helpless pet with no one to love it."

Pictured: Photo by Jackie Palmer
For more information on the 31 rescued basset hounds, contact the Bandera County Animal Welfare Society at 830-751-2595, or the Hill Country Animal League at 830-249-2341 or hcalspca@gvtc.com or visit www.hcaltx.com.