Health Problems Force Tuskegee Man To Give Up More Than 50 Dogs

Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TUSKEGEE, Oklahoma -- A Tuskegee man says he just can't take care of his dogs anymore. That's because he has more than 50 at his home in Creek County.

The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals says this is not a cruelty or hoarding case.

Gerry Dearman says he can no longer care for the dozens of dogs that roam his rural Tuskegee property.

"I had a few and then a few dogs were dumped here and there. They had pups and it just escalated," he said.

Dearman says he did the best he could for four years.

Tara Vreeland, News On 6: "At what point were you thinking, this is too much? I can't take care of them anymore."
Gerry Dearman: "About a month ago. Got down to just where I couldn't do it. That's where I'm at."

He says he feeds the dogs 100 pounds of food a day. But the stress has taken a toll on his own health. Dearman suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago.

"Heart trouble," he said. "Can't keep my blood pressure in check. Just overwhelmed right now."

Dearman turned to Paws, an animal rescue group from Bristow. They enlisted the help of the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.

"This man truly realized that this is not a good situation," Shelli Holland-Handy, Director of the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, said. "I need some help. He was very afraid that he was going to get into some kind of legal trouble and so he was very hesitant to call and he was very hesitant to trust anybody to help him."

The groups stepped in to round-up the dogs to vaccinate, spay and neuter. Some will be put up for adoption. Some will have to be euthanized.

"What are you to do when animals keep showing up on your property, you know, but to try to take care of them the best you can. I think he does love each and every one of them. He has named each and every one of them," said Holland-Handy.

Dearman says he'll keep three dogs, Buck Jake and Smiley. He says it's a tough choice, but one he agrees is for the best.

"It's hard. It's a really emotional deal. A lot of stress. A lot of worry about the animals and what's going to happen to them. Hardest part is that some of them will have to be put down," he said.

Oklahoma Alliance for Animals and PAWS took a total of 36 animals, mostly dogs and a few cats. They'll say they'll get them up to speed health wise and monitor their behavior. They say they hope to put the animals up for adoption in the coming weeks.