Rare singing dogs find new homes
A rare New Guinea Singing Dog stares at the camera from his new home at East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue near Fairfield, Pa. (By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer)
Confined within the wire mesh of their outdoor dog run, shy, yet inquisitive Bear and Daisy circled their new home — stopping occasionally to sniff their plastic play set — at the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue in Fairfield, Pa.
Suzanne Murray, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Adams County, Pa., nonprofit rescue organization, adopted four of the rare dogs after state officials imposed a cease and desist order on Randy Hammond of Fannett Township on Oct. 13.
Murray said she had to do something after seeing a picture of the above-ground, cramped rabbit hutch-like structure that Bear and Daisy were sharing.
"I hate to put anything in a cage, but seeing what they were coming from I knew I could do 100 times better," said Murray, who cares for about 150 animals at her 320 Zoo Road facility.
Bear and Daisy came to the facility on New Year's Day while the less social Bo and Little Miss came to Murray in November.
East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue takes in animals that are no longer wanted by zoos or laboratories as well as people's pets. The facility is open to the public May through October.
What they found
Nicole Bucher, acting press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said state officials went to Hammond's property after receiving information about the rare singing dogs on its tip line.
What they found were 88 dogs, including 68 adults and 20 puppies.
She said the conditions were not terrible. But some of the dogs were being housed in barrels, which was not acceptable.
In November, state officials and rescue organizations worked to place the dogs, which is one of the world's rarest dog breeds.
"We were not aware of any other licensed singing dogs in the state before, and worldwide there are less than 100 or 200. So, they are very, very rare," Bucher said.
Tom Wendt of New Guinea Singing Dog International has traveled from Chicago four times, so far, and placed 62 of the 88 singing dogs in private homes, with animal rescues and sanctuaries.
He plans to return to Hammond's home this week to reduce the number of dogs Hammonds owns to no more than the 25 that he is permitted to keep under state regulations.
Wendt has found foster homes and adoptive homes for the singing dogs in private residences, animal rescues and sanctuaries in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Washington, California and New Hampshire.
"I never dreamed something like this would happen. There are so few of these to begin with. How could you imagine somebody having 80 of them?" said Wendt.
"They were in cramped outdoor enclosures, but Randy (Hammond) loved his dogs. He fed them everyday and watered them everyday. But, when you have 80 of them, it's kind of hard to keep up with handling the way some of them were living," said Wendt.