As many of you know, Salukis have been a big part of my life for going
on three decades. Yoda, my first Saluki, is the image at the top of my
gazehound.com website, and still a powerful and positive influence in my
life even though he passed away many years ago. He sparked a love and
respect for this breed that has become part of my core identity. As a
result, I'm led to do what I can, though often "what I can" doesn't seem
to be enough, to aid the breed in various ways.
I have been involved with the organization STOLA (Saluki Tree of Life
Alliance, Inc.), a national Saluki breed rescue group, since its
inception, and am still active as it's web maintainance person and as a
volunteer. As a volunteer of STOLA, I have recently been involved in a
dire situation that is going to need ongoing support in many categories.
While Saluki people on the whole are great folks, in every barrel there
are bound to be one or two bad apples. One of the "most rotten" in the
Saluki barrel is a lady who, among other names, Saluki people know as
Sandy Moss. Her Elektra Salukis have, for decades, been victims of her
mental illness and negligence. She is what modern psychology experts
refer to an "animal hoarder", and since the 1980s she has kept Salukis
in growing squallor, not tending to their needs, and allowing them to
breed indiscriminately. One time in the past she was brought up on
criminal charges, but after she got out, she moved to a new state,
changed her name, and went about collecting her dogs from "friends" who
hid them for her and started over again.
This past week, brave and dedicated volunteers, including STOLA
representatives, and a caring group of officials from her Virginia
county, finally obtained enough evidence to move in on Sandy Moss and
arrest her. Multiple counts of animal cruelty were pressed, and she is
currently in prison. While I cannot reveal any details of what the
rescuers found on her property due to the pending court procedures,
let's suffice to say that you probably don't really want to know
anyway. Many, many tears have been shed over these details.
The dogs are currently divided into two batches. One group of fourteen
was gotten out before the actual raid and are being fostered by a STOLA
representative. The other group of twenty five dogs is in the custody
of animal control, and must stay there for some time, as they are
evidence in the legal procedings. Both groups, however, are in dire
need of support, as a rescue of this magnitude is more than either
STOLA's budget or the budget of the animal care facility used by the
county are able to safely cover.
Due to the non profit nature of the organization, STOLA is not allowed
by the IRS to donate directly to the county run facility, but private
volunteers have put together a separate fund for that purpose. STOLA
has donated web space and an email address to those volunteers to help
out. If reading this message inspires you to learn more and possibly
make a donation to either group of Salukis, please feel free to visit
the STOLA website at http://www.stola.org. You will see links on the
front page to both the private page for the Elektra Saluki Aid Fund, and
to STOLA's main donations page.
I hope this note finds you all well, and that it has not disturbed
anyone. Salukis are a special part of my heart, and I would not be
emailing you this way if there was not a very special cause.
Thank you for your time,