Animal rescue in action again after shutdown

December 29, 2009 7:13:21 PM PST
A beloved Bay Area animal rescue group that shut down because of overcrowding, is up and running again. The Milo Foundation has rescued 15,000 pets over the past 15 years. The organization hit some hard times recently, but things are looking up again for the group and the animals that need them.

The Milo Foundation is back in business, rescuing dogs and cats that are about to be put to death. Six-month-old Oz was facing euthanasia at a shelter in Lake County, but Milo volunteers got there first. Now, they are trying to find Oz a permanent home.

"We're doing as much as we can to save as many lives as possible," says Milo's founder Lynne Ting.

Tingle's group rescues animals all over the state. They have a large animal sanctuary in Mendocino County and a smaller shelter in San Rafael. Last October, the Marin Humane Society shut down the San Rafael shelter because Milo had three times more dogs than its permit allowed and inspectors said the facilities were dirty.

The group admits they were over the limit, but insists all the animals were well cared for. Milo supporters rallied to help. Volunteer Pam Bird was there seven days a week.

"It's much cleaner, oh yes, much cleaner," Bird says. "We did a lot of work."

Milo was closed for six weeks while they reapplied for their permit, but they are finally open again. It was great news for Sunshine, who just got a home with Dave and Maria Scott who are thrilled to help a rescue dog.

"We think that's the thing we should be doing, not going to a puppy mill, but dogs that need homes," Dave says.

Milo's permit limits them to only 10 dogs at the shelter at a time and that has created a desperate need for more foster homes where animals can stay while they wait to be adopted. Milo especially needs homes for litters of puppies because they tend to come in large groups.

"If we brought in a litter of puppies, we could only have maybe two other dogs here," Tingle says.

Jill Morrison and her family have opened their home to litters of kittens and puppies for Milo.

"It's really like if you've had children or if you've babysat," she says. "It's basically you now, feeding them, cleaning up their bathroom and then they eat, they sleep, they eat. I mean it's very easy."

One mother dog arrived with four puppies of her own and was willing to accept two more. The puppies are about done nursing and are ready for adoption.

Milo will often take animals that are not perfect, like Peggy, a great little pup with a missing foot, or kittens that need a little medical attention before they can be put out for adoption. Morrison says it just makes her love the animals more.

"You get to know the animals," she says. "If you are interested in a kitten or a puppy, if you foster, you get first pick for adoption."

Fostering is also good for animal lovers who travel. They cannot have a permanent pet, but maybe they could take an animal for a few weeks while they are at home. It is often hardest to find foster homes for large dogs, so they end up spending time in small kennels while they wait for homes.

Milo is always looking for more volunteers to walk and play with them.

"They do get cared for. They get lots of love. They get veterinary care and then they get homes and otherwise they are dead," Tingle says. "I mean, they were in an animal shelter where they were going to be euthanized."

The Milo Foundation is also hurting for cash after the shut down. Visit the Milo Foundation website if you want to donate, volunteer or adopt an animal.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney


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