For 200 of the dogs
confiscated from Thyme and Sage Ranch, May 31, 2009 was a VERY good day. They
left the compassionate care of Dane County Humane Society and and the national
organizational members who came to DCHS to assist with the seizure and the
initial care and treatment of the dogs, on their way to safety and comfort at
fourteen other humane societies around the state.
In advance of
the warrant that freed these animals from their inprisonment at Thyme and Sage
Ranch, Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies (WFHS) worked to locate ample
housing in shelters and humane societies in Wisconsin for ALL the dogs. Just as
soon as Jennifer Petkus, the owner of Thyme and Sage, signed over the 200 dogs
to the Dane County Humane Society on 29 May, the plan for moving them to their
new housing was put into action.
the transportation were members of the all-volunteer Badger Animal Rescue
Transportation Services (BRATS).
with empty animal carriers and crates began to line up at the security
checkpoint on the grounds of DCHS at around 8 am that sunny Sunday. Throughout
the morning, shelter members of Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies arrived in
waves with vans and volunteers along with additional BRATS teams.
one,the dogs from the "big tent temporary housing" were transferred
aboard by volunteers and members of the HSUS Emergency Animal Relief Services
(EARS). The dogs were made comfortable in crates and kennels lined with
blankets to prepare them for their trip to their destination shelter. All of
their "paperwork," providing ID, vet records, and observations about
the animals, was attached to carriers and crates.
Organizers and volunteers
alike were struck by the spirit of teamwork that characterized the entire
operation, from the serving of the warrant to the transport of the dogs.
National organizations worked shoulder-to-shoulder with state and local groups.
Dane County Humane Society took the initial responsibility for the animals, and
when help was needed, volunteers from all over the state responded.
Federated Humane Societies has handled some large cases in our history, but
never anything like this," said Debby Lewis, WFHS President. "We knew
it was going to be a challenge, but we also knew we could manage it."
it, they did: In just six and a half hours, all two hundred dogs were on their
way to a new life. Chuck and Cheri Wegner from Clark County Humane Society had
the distinct honor of taking the last of the dogs back to their Shelter. Chuck
said, "As the last one was brought out of the tent all the volunteers from
the various groups applauded. It was a touching moment and one I won't
"This whole action goes to show that Wisconsin has a group of caring
people who can rise to the occasion. We came from all over the state, helped
where needed and tackled a tremendous logistical problem without a hitch."
Ribbens, a member of WFHS, summed it up: "All I can say is I witnessed a
miracle today. I'm so very happy to have seen the love, support, compassion and
kindness extended not only to the dogs but to each and every human member of
the team working on their behalf. There was not one angry word or misplaced
step. Everyone knew their job and each person supported the others to complete
this mission of mercy."
Many of the
shelters had already been approached by rescues offering to take some of
the dogs for fostering, rehabilitation, and to facilitate adoptions.
dogs remained at Dane County Humane Society. Some were held as part of the
on-going case against Petkus.
200 dogs, who had suffered abuse and neglect for so long completed a giant leap
on their journey HOME.
Thyme and Sage Ranch Investigation
Thyme and Sage Ranch:
Depth: Personal Stories About Thyme and Sage Ranch
Complaint against Jennifer Petkus (pdf)
Animal Hoarding: Overview
Reporting Suspected Animal
Cruelty Filing a
Complaint Against a Dog seller/ Shelter