Things not quite what they seem
By: Orla (User Name on Gentle Giants News Message Board)
December 11, 2005
I had a relatively benign encounter with Burt Ward, but enough to have grave misgivings about his operation. I was grieving from the loss of a beloved Irish Wolfhound and thought I might "do the right thing" by adopting a rescue. Sound familiar?
I saw a charming half-grown male named Casey on their website, and called to make sure he was available. Yes! So I arduously filled out the several pages long application, feeling qualified and ready. And in 3 conversations with Burt agreed on a date to come view the pup. He was to email directions. The day before the visit I still hadn't gotten directions so I called again, and was told Casey had been adopted out that very day, but there were lots of other breeds so come on down. Call me kennel-blind, but I only wanted an Irish Wolfound.
Then I started to think something was up, and I asked a friend in Missouri to call Burt and say that before she filled out the whole application she wanted to make sure Casey was still available. "Certainly!" Burt said!
She called to tell me, I called him back and said since Casey was still there I wanted to come down. "Oh, but he's gone," Burt said, "I told you we've adopted him out." The I told him how I'd tricked him and he said "Well, we have so many dogs coming and going it is hard to keep track." Did he have ANY other Irish Wolfhounds? NO.
So I feel that he is running a churning rescue dog equivalent of a puppy mill, and uses the photos on the website to entice people in and if the type of dog they were told they could come look at isn't there, well maybe they'll "fall in love" with something else.
I also listened to him go into his longevity rant several times, about how feeding the dogs with his special method and special food will double their lifespan. This is of course the Holy Grail of large breed ownership, everyone wants a dog to live a long and healthy life, but I felt it was scripted to appeal to the well-meaning needy people who contact him, in particular those whose beloved pet has just passed on and who want to think that by following Burt's program they will help this new dog live longer.
I don't have a real feeling for whether Burt is a well-meaning guy or a psychopath, I only had phone and email contact with him. But the number of dogs he churns through his rescue organization belies his claim to have trained and medically rehabilitated them. He simply couldn't unless he had a massive staff and facility, which the projected income WOULD support.....
If all these tragic testimonials are correct something is really wrong there. I personally know three people who adopted animals from him, ALL of which turned out to have MAJOR medical issues that had been neglected until they became severe, and NONE of which were disclosed upon adoption.
I would hope that there are investigative government agencies who check kennel conditions who are available to pick up the investigation of this. Certainly the AKC must have a "puppy mill" investigative team? In any case the evidence is mounting up, and lies always come to light.
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