Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 69 ago they were connected, as they have been many times, through a series of events that began with two unfixed dogs. On a perfect October day in this gor- geous part of Kentucky, somebody drove to a boat ramp with two blue heeler-beagle puppies. e unknown driver was likely the owner of an un-spayed female beagle or blue heeler (officially known as an Aus- tralian cattle dog) that had a litter of pup- pies. Each puppy had a salt-and-pepper flecking that looks bluish from a distance, known as a "blue tick pattern," and the tri- color markings, floppy ears and sweet face of a beagle. Brother and sister, they would have been about three months old. e driver put the puppies on the ground near the boat ramp and drove off, actually a common occurrence in Breckin- ridge County. "Prime dumping ground," Shor says, explaining that boat ramps can be out of sight. Plus, people often take their dogs on their boats, so if anyone did happen to drive by, they wouldn't think it strange to see dogs on the ground next to a car. Breckinridge County is bounded by the Ohio River to the north and Rough River Dam State Resort Park to the south, so boat ramps are everywhere. Shor and her staff and volunteers have found dogs in all kinds of places — sink- holes, a storage unit, a boat. ey've rescued dogs being shot at for straying onto the wrong property. ey have found skinny dogs living in the woods, subsist- ing on squirrels and rabbits and whatever else they could find. ey've found dogs that were literally mangy, suffering from a disease that makes them lose their hair and turns the skin pink, caused by unchecked mites. A recently rescued pit bull was cov- ered in castor oil, a woefully misbegotten attempt at mange care. Once treated, the dog's color went from rosé to champagne. Of course, not all dogs end up in the shelter because they're abandoned; sometimes they land there because they ran away (there's a three-day hold to give owners a chance to claim runaways), while owners themselves sometimes surrender animals they can no longer care for. Shor shows me around the shelter, which was founded in 2004 and has spar- tan, kennel-lined spaces for cats, puppies and quarantined dogs. One bowlegged bulldog has been here for nine months (old and sick dogs often have a hard time finding homes), and an Australian shepherd with behavioral issues will need to be trained before he can be adopted out. A coonhound named Luka has been here four days. He bays like a forlorn seal. Ouwww, ouwww, ouwww! "I know, we hear you, man!" Shor says. "He's been on his own — look how skinny he is." Hound dogs like Luka are common. "If they're not a good hunter, people just let them go in the woods instead of turning them in," Shor says. "en we have to chase them, so that's even more fun." e shelter only has room for 45 dogs at a time, so it must keep them moving out faster than they're coming in. Otherwise, they'd have to euthanize for space, which the shelter hasn't had to do since Shor arrived two and a half years ago. (e shel- ter does have to euthanize about 10 dogs a year in cases of severe injury or severe aggression.) A typical dog's stay is just two weeks. is is a way station. It's time to load the animals. "Zeus and Bubbles will go right here," Shor says. "It's like a Tetris game trying to fit them all together." In all, this transport is going to have 18 animals — three adult dogs, seven puppies and eight kittens. Two volunteers from Animal Friends of Breckinridge County arrive in a gold BMW. ey look like they could have just finished playing tennis in Naples, Florida. Ginny Hamm — gold hair, gold jewelry, sunglasses — introduces herself Opposite page: Breckinridge County Animal Shelter kennel technicians Randy Miller (holding Hazel) and Kala Hardin. This page: Breckinridge County Animal Friends volunteers Ginny Hamm (left) and Melissa Kampars.

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