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Helping Hounds

Hunting dogs need a fair shake

  • A hound dog named Caspian finally finds a home

    At the hound-swamped Fluvanna SPCA in Virginia, Caspian waited more than a year and a half for a home. Upon transfer to a partner group in New Jersey, he was adopted in three days. J. ALTIERI PHOTOGRAPHY

Some shelters are overwhelmed with them. They show up undernourished and parasite-infested, sometimes with a scrap of collar left but no tag. Field officers find them chained up in back lots. They’re rarely sterilized or vaccinated, and their history and breed can make them tricky to adopt.

Think we’re talking about pit bulls?

Not this time.

At some rural rescues and shelters, hunting hounds are the pooches filling the kennels, especially during and after hunting season.

Volunteering for the Fluvanna SPCA in rural Virginia in the ’90s, Julie Falconer regularly saw lost hunting hounds with numbers painted on their sides (a method for keeping track of the dogs in a pack) wandering stray along the roads. Falconer, now a senior editor at The HSUS, recalls the time a man pulled up at the shelter and dropped two hounds outside; when the shelter director asked for histories on the animals, the man just told her they "didn’t hunt good" and drove off.

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