GALLIPOLIS — “House of Cards” actress Kate Mara visited an undisclosed Gallia County location Saturday to assist with recovery efforts as rescuers examined and addressed medical needs of 66 dogs.
The animals were rescued last Thursday during a joint Gallia Canine Shelter, Gallia Sheriff’s Office and Humane Society of the United States effort at a private property on Wagoner Road in Gallia County.
After collecting 66 dogs — a mixture of puppies and adult animals — rescue workers took the animals via specialized trucks and trailers to a location within Gallia County to meet both their medical needs and document them. Three horses were also taken in the Thursday action, a 4-month-old foal, a 5 year-old horse and an estimated 18-year-old horse. While dogs were observed and examined, others were allowed to rest in a temporary kennel facility lined with sawdust, clean water, food and sleeping equipment. Many of the animals were considered mid-sized dog breeds mixed with a Beagle breed line.
“Three years ago, I met some really lovely people at the Humane Society and started working with them then and haven’t really been able to tear myself away,” Mara said. “I do have two very old Boston Terriers. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like this. My friend at the Humane Society told me what was going on about a week ago and asked me if I would be interested in coming on and going to Ohio and (getting) familiar with what’s going on and to help care for the animals in any way that I could. So, I am learning a lot about this right now. This is definitely my first time experiencing anything like (a reported animal hoarding case).”
Colleague and HSUS director of animal crimes Chris Schindler provided a large amount of background on the case as an expert in the field of animal cruelty and negligence cases.
“Unfortunately, we deal with a lot of large -scale cruelty cases,” Schindler said. “We deal with probably anywhere from two to a half dozen or more of these cases every year and some of these cases range up to 100 (animals). We have other ones like the Adams County (Ohio) case. That was last year. I believe a few counties away that involved several hundred dogs. Sadly, the resources (for animal rescue) don’t exist in every pocket of the country and that’s why we exist, to be able to help areas where these cases may not be able (to be solved without resources).”
Given her acting background, the Daily Tribune asked Mara her opinion on the idea of being in a cinematic or broadcast pursuit involving animal rescue efforts.
“I love watching anything documentary-like that will teach people about animal cruelty and what’s right and wrong,” Mara said. “I’m all for that. I haven’t really seen anything like that and I’d be interested in watching. I don’t know if we’ll take anything on the road, but you never know. It’s a good idea.”
Schindler emphasized the importance of reporting animal negligence and cruelty cases. He said “nothing can be done if people don’t say something.” For both people and animals living in rough environments, it is important that individuals share information with the appropriate authorities as early as possible.
“It doesn’t hurt anything to call and say something for somebody to check into it,” Schindler said. “This situation would not have grown out of hand if the dogs were spayed and neutered. The dogs were breeding with each other because they were all co-housed. That’s where a fair amount of these dogs are fairly, clearly related to each other. We had a large amount of puppies. A way to tackle a lot of issues in a lot of parts of the country is to be able to spay and neuter your pets. It cuts down on animal populations going into the shelters and it cuts down on situations like this so they don’t have a way to begin.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-46-2342, ext. 2103.