It’s been a very long time coming. Shadow is a story of elusiveness, sadness, frustration, and joy. All emotions run amuk when we think of the moments leading up to, and after, her capture by the amazing Robert Melby. And we thank him and Lori (one of the many neighbors feeding her but the one who worked for weeks to lure her into her yard, and finally succeeded!) for making this capture possible. Shadow is now safe!
But the story begins a long time ago. Back in November of 2019. First some backstory on Shadow. It might help you understand why she ran in the first place.
Shadow came from East Texas, from a hoarder/breeder situation. Some of us at Billy’s Posse, Inc. have fostered dogs just like her. And she’s EIGHT years old! EIGHT years of being locked in a kennel. Handled roughly for breeding purposes only. Never knowing love all of those EIGHT YEARS! Only misery.
Dogs like her are not taken out of their kennels to go to the bathroom or eat or excercise. They are only taken out of the kennel, in a rough manner, for extreme neccessary means. And only the breeder or caretaker will detemine when that happens, usually for insemination. And that’s only if they can’t do it with her in the kennel.
Many dogs in her situation, and we can’t know for sure if hers was exactly this bad, they are kept in kennels that are too small to stand in and they are kept in that manner so that it’s easy to insseminate them. Their nails aren’t clipped, their fur never brushed, no exercise, slop for food (and poor nutrition at that), and no kindness. They pump out litter after litter and the litters are ripped away from them over and over again. When they are taken out of their kennels, it is forcefully by grabbing them by the scruff and just pulleing them out. They are so scared, sad, and submissive. It is as bad as you see on those commercials on TV. So, when they get loose … they run. They just don’t trust humans. They have no reason to. And no matter how sweet we are to them, it take months or years to start gaining their trust. But they are not a lost cause. We have seen them turn around, and become dogs – and loving pets. They get to live the rest of their days knowing a soft couch, good food, and love. And that’s why she was rescued by Animal House Shelter (AHS) in IL. Because she deserves love. Because she CAN be saved.
Shadow was fostered by her owner. When she came to them, she was pregnant. One last litter to be ripped away from her so that they all could be adopted. And her foster parents, Holly and Ken, adopted her themselves. It was hard. It was hard to start gaining her trust. It was taking a long time. They had her the two months with her pups. Then they had her for three months after that, when she got loose. Holly was slowly gaining her trust. Shadow would put her head in Holly’s lap. The transormation of five months was slowly happening. She was learning to ‘dog’ and become a pet. But she was still scared of the world, and humans. One day, when Holly took her out to go potty, the collar unclipped and she was off. She just kept going. And she vanished into the neighborhood. That was on November 11, 2019.
On December 9, 2019 we were contacted by a volunteer with AHS about a dog loose in Genoa City. She had a trap out and was trying to capture Shadow. She had experience with trapping loose dogs but needed help watching the trap as it was a long drive for her. She quickly realized it was just as long a drive for us. However, we agreed to help her however she needed it. I told her I was already speaking with the owner too. And that a pen had been ordered for us to put up a larger trap, called a Missy Trap. She had a good sized trap out there already. We also offered our wifi trail cam. She said she’d be happy to have the trap she had out there returned to AHS. She also mentioned she had already trapped Shadow’s sister recently, as she too escaped, using the same trap she had out for Shadow.
It had quickly become apparent that people in the neighborhood were feeding Shadow. This makes it extremely difficult to trap an already smart dog. Why would she go into a trap (reminds them of kennels) when she can get food out in the open? She wouldn’t. And she didn’t. Not ours, not hers.
After months of having two traps out, the other lady pulled hers. We kept ours up for a bit longer yet. But we just weren’t going to have any luck. We had gone and asked all we could find to not feed her and they seemed to be on board. We thought. Here’s her walking around our Missy Trap, and away from it:
After some time, we called in Robert Melby. He’s the animal control agent for the Town of Randall as it is. His job is technically to only come get a dog once it’s been captured. He is not contracted to come trap or chase down a dog. But he graciously agreed to help trap with this case as it had been going on for so long. So, we made flyers to pass out to residents alerting them of his presence and what he was doing. We put his number on it in case they had questions about what he was doing. We put those on mailboxes of people not home. Someone called in to the town about our goof. It was an honest mistake. We had not realized the old law allowing for literature on flags of mailboxes had changed. In the meantime, he set up his trap and tended to it and Shadow for two weeks on his own time and dime. BUT … not after he realized his trap had been stolen and one was donated to him by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin so he could do this for Shadow. However, people still did not stop feeding her and he was unsuccessful. This is a very experienced man. He was very confident this would work. But it didn’t. But not for his lack of experience or trying. He pulled his trap and left.
We reached out to others. We were trying to find a vet to work on sedating Shadow. But we could not find anyone willing to risk their license to do this, it’s illegal without seeing her. And they couldn’t see her because no one could catch her. So, we moved on.
We found a trapper who could help with a Collarum trap. There is one specifically made for domestic canines. It is not a noose. It’s like a slip lead with a stop on it. And Matt from Guaranteed Gone donated his time if we came up with the money for the trap. So, we asked for funds for the trap. He ordered it and came and set it up. We talked with neighbors again and let them know what we were doing. And we only had the trap available to Shadow when one of us from the team, usually two of us, were there to release her right away. We had to get special permission from the DNR to use this trap. We had a conference call with them about it. And they spoke to Holly about it. And after a few weeks of us watching her on the wifi cam, we had to pull that also. Now, you’ll get a kick out of these pics. This is her coming and looking at it, as if to say, “Na, ah. Not happening. How stupid do you think I am?”
So, ok. We’ve now had four agencies and four traps. All unsuccessful. And not necessarily to the fault of any one of us. When people continue to feed a dog on the loose, and there is a trap out, they will not go in the trap. Well, most dogs anyway. It may seem cruel to starve a dog for a couple days so they’ll be hungry enough to go in the trap. But in the trap they will go, it’s right there for their taking, if they are hungry enough. And then the whole ordeal is over for the dog, their family, and the neighborhood.
Now, we realize the people were worried about her. Especially in winter. But we need your help with this when we’re out there. The lady AHS needed this support and wasn’t getting it. Albeit, she wasn’t big on communications. And we had to get mean with the folks. We had to tell them they were killing her by not letting her get caught. I, Kristin, broke down out there one day. And I let them know why. This poor girl had injured her paw in the winter. Who knows what worms she had, or infections, or any other issues that can arise from being out there on their own. She was risking running into a pack of coyotes during mating season. Or being shot from a farmer, there was one who thought she went for his chickens!
Then there was the farmer who wanted to help and use a tranquilizer gun on her, in the mild winter with half frozen ponds all around! We had to plead with people not to go that route over and over. We later found out it would have killed her if the half frozen ponds didn’t. You have to dose it just right AND have the reversal agent or it will continue to kill her no matter the dose! Thank God that never happened.
Ok, so four agencies and four traps. Now, we thought we’d try a net. We got a big net. We would up camping out on a deck with the net below us. She almost went in, and got spooked away when the homeowner came out to tell us she was in the backyard, not realizing she was right there. This wasn’t going to work, we quickly realized. We weren’t going to get it pulled up fast enough anyway. Ok, can we hide in the woods? Maybe. She came up close to one team member who just sat along her pathway once. We were thinking about it but decided to give her a few days to relax. She got stressed whenever anyone new was out there.
Then we came back with a vet approved dosage of a sedative. We tried the dosage. She didn’t get sleepy enough for long enough. And when she heard a twig break as we were sneaking up on her with the net, the adrenalin kicked in. Later in the day, we tried a stronger dose and left the area. We waited till she was laying around again. But she never let her guard down again. And we even watched her run away on drugs. It was like they just made her feel young again! Ok, that’s not going to work. Back to the vet.
We were told to try something else, and yes the owner and neighbors knew what it was. Shadow at some of the food and found the pills in it. So, she only got half the dose and disappeared ALL DAY LONG! We thought we chased her off. We had to leave her alone again.
We were working on getting a cannon net. It was ordered. But a week after ordering, we were told it would be at least a week before it would even ship out! But we had spoken to one neighbor who had Shadow coming up to the threshold of her fence gate. We asked her to work on getting her in the yard, inch by inch, each day an inch further in.
Apparently it worked! She got her in her yard and she called the Sheriff who called Robert Melby out to go get her! He worked at it for four hours. She came and laid down by him three times and he tried the slip lead but it would get hung up on her ear or nose. Then he tried the net and she backed right out of it! Ugh. He had to leave to let her calm down. Then he got the call she jumped the fence. Crap.
Next day came, he went out when she’s fed and was ready with his net. AND HE GOT HER! IT WAS OVER! YAY!!!!! OUR HERO! SHADOW’S HERO! Are you jumping up and down and screaming with us now? YOU BETTER BE! Thank you LORI for all of your hard work to get her in your yard and make this possible!
Funny thing … she actually got fat from how well they fed her all winter! It kept her healthier, yes. But it also prolonged the whole ordeal. But we know there hearts were in the right place. They aren’t trappers. So, while it wasn’t what was best, they meant the best and did it for the best of their hearts. And we love them for that. They get it now.
And that’s the story of Shadow! BTW … she’s doing great with Holly and was even following her around today and went to her for loves! She had a vet visit and I’ll know how that went tomorrow. But she’s safe, warm, and loved. Right at home. Where no one wanted her to be, but us and a couple neighbors. Thank you Lauren! Your support means so much to Holly!
AND NOW THIS DIRT …
Now, there’s a lot of trash going around on Facebook. There was so much drama with this one. Too many cooks in the kitchen perhaps. But once we speak to an owner, and they want us on the job, we are on the job despite anyone else’s opinion or desire for us to be there or not. Not meaning trespassing. Just about being on the job. And Kerry Nowak from AHS did not want us there starting with when she found out I was keeping Holly in the loop. See, her and another lady (who lives out there and I will not name) did not want Shadow going home. They were even telling people that she shouldn’t go home. Holly’s neighbors were getting turned against her. Kerry didn’t show them how to set the trap. The trail cam from LDoW wasn’t getting checked regularly by them. But they did see that Shadow went in the trap, stretched in and took the food without ever setting it off. It was too small for her. She’s around 80 lbs. So, this discouraged them and their efforts with that trap. They’d seen it not work on her already, with her fully in it. Not like her smaller sister. She weighed a lot more than when she came in to the shelter. But no one wanted to listen to us about that trap being too small. Well, Kerry from AHS or Barb from LDoW anyway. Everyone in the neighborhood knew it was too small and all agreed she was definitely closer to the 80 lb mark. But we were dumb idiots to the ‘pros’. I, Kristin, was constantly demeaned and abused by Kerry. She would even tout her experience and then tell me mine meant nothing to her. If I answered a question, I was being rude and she’d ask me why she should care. So, we quit communicating. I was done with it. I wasn’t going to tell her anything. Holly told me she didn’t want her getting her dog because she was rude. Even the homeowner feeding Shadow said she was rude and disrespectful to her. She bossed her around and walked all over her property. She had even moved her trap and set it up smack next to ours, demanding we take ours down. Well, Holly wanted us there and the homeowner didn’t mind us there, so we stayed.
Then all of the Facebook slander started. Barb McDonald from LDoW was actually telling dog owners not to talk to us because we killed two dogs. Yes, we have the proof. And NO, we never have killed any dogs! And she was the very least telling others to stay away from us. Then the posts about no one should donate to us because of this and that lie. You can read it all yourself on Kerry Nowak and Barb McDonald’s posts on their timelines, on the LDoW posts, and in the various Racine and Kenosha lost pet and dogs groups. I have screenshots if wanted, they are public posts. But there are a LOT of them!
I know one was Kerry stating something along the lines of us needing to learn what a volunteer is and about us asking for money. We constantly ask because we don’t get much ever since they started their war. Yes, they’ll love that. They succeeded. But it will cost them. However, a non-profit runs on volunteers … and donations! So, yes. We will ask for donations! And continually as equipment of any kind is needed. Or other financial reasons, like the $60/mo we were spending on the trail cams for Shadow, Kobie, and little Nate! That’s just one monthly bill. And that’s how a non-profit is run! LDoW doesn’t run on the pockets of their leadership, it’s donations. But that wouldn’t matter to Kerry. Only that it’s them, not us.
And Kerry also always used to say it was about the dog and that we just wanted the win and were selfish. I point out that she is rejoicing that their friend got her, not us. Not that Shadow is caught. But that it was done by him rather than us. A win for them.
When I asked a simple question about who decides what search groups are credible and asked what training LDoW volunteers had, I was blocked from their page. Because I was rude. Kathy Pobloski told me she has a zero tolerance for rudeness. But yet, Kerry is again touting her thanks to LDoW for allowing her to slam and slander us on the Shadow post’s updates she has on there. That will bite Kathy soon. And they say we’re the narcistic ones.
If someone has to constantly tear one down to lift themselves up, what does that make them? And especially when it’s done with lies and vile rumors? Well, she put it quite well on her timeline today, and publicly – so here you have it:
She’s a professional alright.
AND IF YOU’VE READ ALL THAT … Delight in this video we got of her from the wifi cam. It’s pretty neat.