Brynn/Sophie and her puppies: A lesson for us all.
In July, Brynn (later renamed Sophie), a female Pit Bull mix, estimated to be about two years old, and who was very pregnant, sat on death row at the San Bernardino City Shelter. She gave birth to 7 beautiful puppies and was pulled the next day, either directly by Milena Popovich (Please Don't Kill Me Foundation) or assisted by her. She posted on 7/13/2013 that she had pulled Brynn/Sophie. It’s clear she was very involved in this rescue.
Milena: " Please Don't Kill Me " by The Good, the Bad, the Unforgivable of Animal Rescue page provides a full report of Brynn/Sophie’s rescue. This is an excellent article which provides the facts of this case and supporting evidence to illustrate what happened to this poor dog and her babies.
To summarize the main events, here are some key facts:
Brynn/Sophie was supposed to go to a temporary foster who was only able to keep her for a week but that did not work out and she was placed with a woman who agreed to hold her for 4 hours only. She was never removed from her care, despite the fact that she was not really able to take on this responsibility for an extended period of time based on her own statements.
Brynn/Sophie became very sick and she was not properly treated by a veterinarian. Apparently, she was not given proper medical care by a licensed vet or the diagnostic tests to determine what was wrong. Instead, the people involved attempted to diagnose and treat her themselves, even using Robitussin DM which is contraindicated for dogs with pneumonia. Brynn/Sophie is believed to have had some form of pneumonia. Using an OTC medicine designed for human use without the approval of a licensed vet is foolish and dangerous. Attempting to treat a dog that is so sick she won’t eat or move in such a manner is reprehensible. They could have made another choice.
Sadly, Brynn/Sophie suffered for many days and then she died, leaving behind her orphaned puppies. Two of her babies also died.
Could this have been prevented? Who was responsible for the tragic end for this young mother and her babies?
I think the answers to these questions are pretty obvious. Perhaps there is no way to know for sure that Brynn/Sophie would have survived if she had been properly treated as soon as she showed symptoms but she would have had a fighting chance to live and to raise her babies. She was deprived of that chance. The pulling rescue was ultimately the one who should have made sure these dogs got the care they needed. They failed to live up to what a rescue should be.
Brynn/Sophie and her babies lost their lives and that should mean something to us all. At the very least, lessons should be learned from this and those involved need to commit to doing better in the future. Much, much better.
The parties responsible should be held accountable.
The animal rescue community needs to say enough is enough and stop believing that repeat offenders who fail to rescue responsibly had good intentions and did the best they could. That is simply not the case much of the time and the proof is in the fact that most don’t learn from their mistakes, they don’t become more responsible, and animals continue to be sacrificed.
Saving lives involves a lot more than just saving them from death in a shelter. There must be a good rescue plan which provides a safe place for the animals to stay, funds need to be available for vet care and unexpected illnesses, and there needs to be a safety net or back up plan for when things do not go according to plan. Pulling animals and hoping for the best because you want to save them from death in a shelter is not enough. It’s barely the beginning of what a responsible rescue effort requires.
I think this statement says it best:
"It doesn't matter how many dogs this rescuer has "saved", passed off to others, adopted out. Brynn/Sophie moms deserved so much more than she received. Her pups deserved to have their mom feed and care for them. Someone decided to withhold money and others played veterinarian and it helped to cost Brynn/Sophie her life. So we have 1 out of 3 grown females that died because of incompetence. Does her life mean anything? Who is to be held accountable for the lack of vetting/care that this dog was entitled? Her pups will never know her life because of human asininity. There were 4 puppies lost. Do their lives mean anything?
Has anyone yet to see an apology? How about someone owning the mistakes that were made?
After all the suffering that Brynn/Sophie went through, in her final hours she was allowed to go to the emergency vet. Why Milena did not offer to pay it before is the question of the day. How this poor momma of seven must of suffered. To think that rescuers, people committed to ensure the safety and well being of animals could put a beautiful soul through all of this is truly sickening. This was not a mistake. This was someone in my opinion, that wanted to hold onto their money."
- Milena: " Please Don't Kill Me "
RIP Brynn/Sophie & the 2 puppies that did not survive. Run free and godspeed little angels. I'm sure Buck and all the other animals there who have been failed in the name of rescue are embracing you in love.
Milena: " Please Don't Kill Me "
Brynn/Sophie's shelter FB thread:
Brynn/Sophie - shelter video:
Video of the 5 surviving puppies:
Fundraiser for Brynn/Sophie's surviving puppies:
Milena Popovich (Please Don't Kill Me Foundation)