Georgia Animal Rescue & Defence Inc,  Georgia Department of Agriculture,  Joy Bohannon,  Sick animals from GARD

GARD’s Helminth Problem Pt 1

In a plaintive Facebook post dated September 7 2020 GARD wrote:

We sometimes hear that a puppy still may have a couple of worms left or a slight skin issue when adopted even though we explain in detail in our contract that parasites are cyclical and though the puppy had a negative fecal at the last vet check the worms can come back.

First, GARD’s “adoption contract” does not claim parasites are “cyclical.” It does say in section 11:

GARD does not adopt out any obviously or seemingly unhealthy animals to potential Adopters.

I know a lot of people who would argue that sentence. In the fine print GARD says:

I agree to have adopted pet seen by vet of my choice within 2 weeks of adoption in order to begin any necessary preventatives (i.e. heartworm, intestinal worms, fleas).  

So they don’t sell obviously sick animals but you’d better get the animal to a vet to deal with standard canine/feline maintenance since they aren’t doing it. An obvious contradiction but I’m no longer surprised by those. Continuing:

GARD “Adoption” Contract

I also understand that certain parasites, such as intestinal worms and fleas, and certain viruses, such as kennel cough, are re-occurring issues with any pet. Since pets can carry these parasites/viruses for a period of time with no identifiable symptoms, GARD can make no guarantees regarding the re-occurrence of these issues. I understand that it is my responsibility to seek ongoing vet care to prevent and/or treat these issues. I have been given the information to activate my 30 days of free pet insurance.

I’ve never had a dog with symptomatic kennel cough. Not once. I’ve never taken in a dog from the streets or a real rescue that had symptomatic kennel cough. Not once. What ridiculous pile of garbage is this?

True, during the anthelmintic process a dog/pup can test negative by fecal smear for any of the four major canine helminths. That does NOT mean that helminth infestations are “cyclic.” Note that their “contract” doesn’t use the word “cyclic.” It uses the word “reoccurring,” which ought to be recurring (technical writer peeking out.)

Sure, if one doesn’t follow a regular anthelmintic protocol odds are good one’s dog will come down with another infestation of worms. A subsequent infestation from a new source is not the same as the infestation with which an animal arrives at a rescue. Reinfestation is also not the same as GARD’s Facebook claim that “parasites are cyclical.” The distinction matters, especially to GARD’s bottom line.

I have news about that “30 day free insurance.” It’s called “on the 29th of February during a full moon” insurance. Because GARD states, erroneously:

Since pets can carry these parasites/viruses for a period of time with no identifiable symptoms, GARD can make no guarantees regarding the re-occurrence of these issues

any condition with which the animal presents that is not a traumatic injury is considered preexisting and therefore not covered under the “30 days of free pet insurance.” That’s why the insurance is “free.” I’ve tried to get the policy, codicils and riders for this particular “insurance” contract with no success but I’ve yet to hear of anyone being reimbursed for conditions with which the animal came from GARD. Angela certainly wasn’t.

Back to the worms

The four common canine parasitic helminths are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.

Each type of parasitic worm requires a different treatment protocol but the common denominator is sanitation. All four common canine parasitic helminths are transmitted via environmental vectors. (Canine fetal/neonatal roundworm transmission is also possible but once that infestation is cured in the pups any subsequent infestation is environmental.) All four common canine parasitic helminths can be prevented with proper sanitation combined with species-appropriate anthelmintic treatment.

We’ve seen GARD’s unsanitary facilities in both Georgia Department of Agriculture reports and GARD’s own Facebook post on September 1 2020.

GARD can’t manage to clean the slime off the concrete and they stuff as many animals into cages as can fit. Little wonder GARD can’t manage a halfway respectable anthelmintic program.

 “it can take months before the parasites are totally eradicated.”

Editorial discretion to call bullshit on this claim. A properly managed anthelmintic programs takes about six weeks, maybe eight depending on the extent of the infestation. Certainly not months.

GARD’s sale of heavily infested animals has human health repercussions, detailed in part 2.


<snip> . . ..what you are seeing is often months of hard work and dedication from volunteers who need your support not judgement (sic) because rescue is heartbreaking enough as it is and there are too few of us to go around.

Sorry, not going to work. GARD’s Board of Directors is responsible for the veterinary issues at GARD and gets no free passes here. If the volunteers aren’t properly trained that’s also on GARD’s Board of Directors and especially Joy Bohannon.


  • Old Ben

    It’s crazy to me. Can you fathom this type of garbage passing in any other industry? Ever?

    But (broken record alert) thats the beauty of this bullshit business. Unlike most/all other consumer-merchant relationships, people who adopt an animal have come to expect their purchase to be faulty! That’s the whole point! “We didn’t promise you a healthy, purebred, free-from-illness dog. If we could do that we’d be a pet store.”

    They know they’re not selling a healthy dog. Shit, they couldn’t sell a healthy dog if they tried. But you know what they are peddling? Commitment. Commitment and guilt. They know good God damn well that the customers who are (insert adjective) enough to see through their shit aren’t really gonna call them on it. Not most of them anyway. They’re too busy trying to keep their new 8 pound legal/moral/ethical bundle of responsibility from dying of Parvo-induced fever and dehydration.

    And if you do call them out? How do they respond?

    “Of course its sick. Thats why we had to save it from (insert lie here).”
    “We can’t account for every worm. Dogs get worms. (Yea, from living in filth.)”
    “Have you taken the dog outside? Probably why he’s sick. Must have gotten into something.”
    “Read the contract. Your dog was healthy.”

    And now you’re in the beatifully-convenient (for them) position of having to negotiate against yourself and your new pet. Bring the pet back and you’re out $500+ and an animal. They know that’ll never happen. No way you’re bringing this poor creature back to that cesspool. Call and complain? Yea right, get in line. We just won’t call back. Or we’ll sic our attorney on you. You wanna sue? You signed a contract. Good luck proving that it was breached. You can’t afford a lawsuit anyway, not with the piles of vet bills you have to pay. You’re stuck, they know it.

    I loath these people and everything that they get away with.

    • Casey

      We’ve discussed the problems with paying to get animals out of that pit. I am of the opinion that giving GARD money is a mistake since the funds obviously aren’t going to the remaining animals. Others think getting as many dogs out of there as possible is the best course of action while awaiting the government agencies’ responses. None of us are wrong and none of us are right. Each side has legitimate reasons for the position.

      I’ve long thought software companies, Microsoft in particular, were in many ways scams in that they knowingly sell defective products and make one pay for the fix, aka upgrade. Not until recently have I realized that a lot of animal rescues share that trait.

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