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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Local girl saves pups

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Staff Photo/ Courtney Luke Seventh grader Allison Burnett played a major role in saving the lives of five puppies that were dumped alongside the road near her home. [Order this photo]
On a cold evening in February, a seventh grader at Campbell Elementary was traveling home with her mother. Alongside a rural road, Allison Burnett saw a box wrapped in plastic. Inside was a puppy.

Allison, the animal lover that she is, felt as though something had to be done. While her parents were making phone calls to try to see what they could do with the puppies, she made the most important phone call of all, a secret phone call to her grandpa John Burnett.

According to John's wife Robbie, the grandpa will pretty much do anything his granddaughter asks of him. And so, on Saturday February 11, after many phone calls and several referrals, the box of what was once thought to be one puppy but instead was six, was taken to Zalma, Mo. to the Bollinger County Stray Project.

Marilyn Neville, the Rescue Director and foster volunteer for the organization, said that the puppies were not in good shape and one did not make it. After several weeks of tender loving care, the five remaining puppies are now available for adoption.

According to Neville, the pups have been treated for serious cases of worms and had flees so badly that they were loosing their coats. They had raw spots on their skin. Three of them were missing about 40% of their coat. All of which resulted in severe scabbing.

Though the dogs are finally ready for adoption, they will only be adopted to families who spay or neuter their pets. According to Neville, it is Missouri law that when a pet is adopted from a pound, shelter or rescue, it must be spayed or neutered.

Photo provided A recent photo of one of the puppies Allison helped save. Because of the poor condition of the dogs, they are just now healthy enough to become available for adoption.
The Bollinger County Stray Project has already saved 48 dogs this year alone. Only about 10% of the dogs get adopted in Southeast Missouri. Because of internet cross posting, many are adopted by owners in St. Louis, Colorado and Minneapolis.

When a dog is to travel to Minneapolis, a group of nine volunteer families drive a one to two hour leg of the trip and hand the animals over to the next family on the link. The animals leave early in the morning with Neville driving them to Cape Girardeau. The Cape Girardeau volunteers drive them on to St. Louis. The system continues on until the animals reach Minneapolis late that evening.

Neville reminds pet owners that female dogs can come into heat as early as five months old.

"You have babies having babies," she stated, explaining that a young dog is not as prepared to take care of pups as an older one.

"It's a one time vet expense for a lifetime companion. Females are more alert and better able to discern when they should be on guard. They are not as aggressive," explained Neville.

According to research, an estimated 70,000 cats and dogs are born each day in the United States. Eight to ten million animals are taken in by shelters, but the free roaming/feral population is estimated to be in the tens of millions. The Humane Society of the United States also recommends having pets, including dogs, cats, and rabbits, spayed or neutered and reports large numbers of animals in shelters across America.

Robbie Burnett expressed her frustration with the inhumane treatment of stray animals with these words, "It just amazes me what people will do to get rid of animals. The solution is so simple."

When recalling her rescue of the puppies, Allison explained that she loves animals. "I knew that they probably wouldn't survive in the box with the weather like it was. I thought, if I were one of them, I wouldn't want to stay in a box."

"They [former owners] tried to keep them warm," explained Micah Burnett, Allison's mom, "but they sure picked the coldest night to do it."

Allison is a big sister to Hailee, 8, and Payton, 10 months and enjoys riding horses. She hopes to be a veterinarian when she is older. Her parents are John and Micah Burnett.