Pa. animal rescues in quarantine: “I’m already crying thinking about saying bye to them”

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — They call them simply “The 404.”

That’s what some people call Atlanta, because of its area code. But in Cumberland County — more precisely, at Speranza Animal Rescue — “The 404” are 404 animals rescued from a farm near Shippensburg last Friday night, about 360 of whom survived the trip from the farm to the rescue and then their first week in far better conditions than those in which they were allegedly found.

“Bodies that were already passed away and rotting,” Janine Guido, president and founder of Speranza Animal Rescue, said. “I’ve seen horrible conditions, deplorable and whatnot. But I’ve never seen it in this quantity — the amount of animals.”

If you think so many animals would mean a less personal connection to each animal than after a smaller haul, well… no.

“Oh my God, I’m already crying thinking about saying ‘bye’ to them,” Guido said. “I’m ridiculous. Like, I get so attached.”

Saying goodbye will mean adopting most of them out to new homes, but not until all of them — the goats, sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, roosters, rabbits and a horse named Mister Ed and a pigeon who doesn’t fly named Bartholomew — finish a three-week quarantine they’re undergoing under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture.

If the alleged conditions at the animals’ former home represent the worst of humankind, Guido says the response from volunteers when she put out the call for help — including a horse trailer and more than a dozen cars rolling down the highway toward Shippensburg less than an hour later — represents the best.

“I’ve never been that proud of my volunteers in my nine years running this place,” she said. “It was incredible. It was just absolutely incredible.”

Once the animals clear their quarantine and are healthy and free of any diseases, Guido and her team at Speranza will be able to spay and neuter them and work on finding them adoptive homes.

Those they’re willing to part with, anyway. Guido says Bartholomew the flightless pigeon, for one, isn’t going anywhere.

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