Rescue or Imprisonment? One Dog’s 330-Day Battle for Freedom Is Still Not Over.
A year-long ordeal for Zoey, a sweet shepherd mix, highlights the dark side of dog rescue operations and leaves a trail of victims in its wake.
In the heartwarming world of animal rescue, where compassionate individuals strive to give abandoned pets a second chance at life, a distressing tale has emerged that exposes the ugly underbelly of the industry. Meet Zoey, a sweet shepherd mix whose rescue from a high kill shelter in Downey, CA turned into a nightmare. Instead of finding a loving home, she was left at a dog boarding facility for almost a year. This is a story of heartbreak, financial hardship, and alleged neglect.
Zoey’s Rescue Journey
It all began nearly a year ago when Lisa Sorensen, the owner of Pibbles ‘n Chi’s, a home-based dog rescue in La Pine, Oregon, stepped in to rescue Zoey and 13 other dogs from the Downey Animal Care Center. At first glance, Sorensen appeared to be a savior for these animals, but as the events unfolded, it became clear that her rescue operation had its dark secrets.
Sorensen, lacking a concrete plan for the 14 dogs, temporarily placed them in a private dog boarding facility known as Barking Lodge Pet Resort in Fullerton, California. She assured the facility’s owner, Bijan Ronagh-Langroodi , that the dogs would be there “just a few days” while she searched for local fosters, adopters, or a way to transport the dogs back to Oregon. However, as time passed, the situation took a grim turn.
Abandonment and Financial Struggles
Sorensen’s inability to secure community support and financial resources left the dogs stranded at Barking Lodge, with their bills steadily accumulating. Meanwhile, Sorensen washed her hands of the situation and went back to Oregon, basically abandoning Zoey and the other 13 dogs.
The mounting costs made it impossible for regular adopters to afford to take the dogs into their homes, and Barking Lodge faced its own financial crisis as it was unable to accept as many dogs into its facility, leading to a loss of income.
One soul remains trapped: Zoey
In this harrowing situation, two Good Samaritans, Salpi Ghazarian and Desiree Hermosillo-Bedoya, stepped up to the plate. They launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the necessary funds to free the 14 dogs from their predicament. It took an astounding 11 months of tireless efforts and the generosity of the public, as well as the hard work of rescue groups like Bubbles Dog Rescue, Liberty Dog Network and Pups Without Borders* to rescue 14 of the dogs (see full list of involved rescues below).
But, heartbreakingly, one soul remains trapped: Zoey, the sweet 3 1/2 year old victim who desperately needs a foster or forever home after 330 days in boarding.
Zoey, who arrived at Barking Lodge on October 15, 2022, has now accrued a staggering bill of $12,000. However Bijan Ronagh-Langroodi , the owner of Barking Lodge, has agreed to release her for a fraction of the outstanding amount, around $4,000. However, the controversy doesn’t end there.
A Pattern of Troubling Behavior
This disturbing saga also shines a light on Lisa Sorensen’s history of getting in over her head in rescue operations. After abandoning the 16 dogs at Barking Lodge, she went on to rescue 17 more dogs and kept them in her house along with her own 7 dogs. However, her actions caught the attention of authorities, leading to her arrest in April 2023.
Sorensen faced 17 counts of Animal Neglect in the Second Degree after deputies discovered a total of 24 dogs living in her residence. The dogs’ living conditions were deplorable, with some in dire need of veterinary care. Eventually, 17 of these dogs were seized and handed over to the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
The heartbreaking tale of Zoey and the other rescued dogs, as well as the troubling history of Lisa Sorensen’s actions, underscores the complexities and challenges faced by well-intentioned animal rescue operations getting in over their heads and leaving multiple victims in its wake. Now we must focus on Zoey, raising enough money to free her, and then finding a foster.
Rescues That Helped
Liberty Dog Network – Rescued: Jazz Hands
Pups Without Borders– Rescued: Itchy & Lexie
Ozzie & Friends – Rescued: Berry & Jessie
Giselle’s Legacy – Rescued: Bradley Pit & Frosty
The Pittie Committee – Rescued Bear
Furballs Furever – Rescued Bentley
Bubbles Dog Rescue – Rescued: Pumba
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