dig and owner

Travis Pelfrey has adopted the first of the 52 dogs taken from a house last month in Ashland.

ASHLAND --  Just shy of a month after 52 dogs were seized from an Ashland home, the first canine to stay at a local facility has found its forever home.  

Travis Pelfrey, of Mansfield, adopted the Beagle-Terrier mix known as Peanut last week, after spotting a Facebook post from the Humane Society of Ashland County. 

"When I saw the post, I thought, I have to get her," he said. 

Pelfrey had previously owned a Jack Russell Terrier named Peaches. But last May his longtime pet had to be put down due to age-associated health problems at 19-years-old.

"After that, my mom was pushing for me to get another dog, and I thought about it for awhile, and she kept sending me jokes and comments," Pelfrey said. 

His mother had all but given up, when Pelfrey saw a Facebook post she shared. She hadn't tagged him in it. Instead, he first saw his new dog on his newsfeed. 

He immediately navigated to the humane society's website and filled out an application. He was alerted the next day that he could adopt Peanut, who he has since renamed Padmé after Queen Padmé Amidala from Star Wars.

Padmé was among 52 dogs rescued in mid-February from a residence along West Main Street in Ashland. On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Humane Society of Ashland County took 46 dogs from the home, and two days later on Friday, Feb. 21, six additional dogs were found and seized from the property. 

Many were placed in veterinary care, according to the Humane Society's Rhonda Hofer.

Once cleared, some dogs were sent to other rescue organizations around the state, as the local humane society wasn't equipped to care for that many dogs.

Ultimately, 16 remained locally. They are now available for adoption as their health allows. At least two, including Hollywood and Star, remain in veterinary care. 

"We've been operating in crisis mode since then," Hofer said. "We took in these dogs, then this (COVID-19) happened, and we heard from pet stores asking for help because of the fears they'd be closed. They didn't want to have living, breathing animals there."

At this point, the Humane Society's animals are taken care of by its volunteers, who visit the animals either alone or in small groups to avoid interaction.

Typically foster parents are sought, but because of efforts to stay socially distanced this has been limited. 

"The best thing people can do is if they are interested in adopting a dog, apply," Hofer said. "If we can get these dogs into their new homes, we'd be grateful.

"It's a way to brighten your spirits. You'll learn their personality and what not over the next several weeks stuck at home, and now's a good time because some of these dogs aren't house broken. You can teach them."  

Further, she said, adoptions would be incredibly helpful, as she's concerned with "kitten season" approaching, the humane society's limited resources could soon become further stretched. 

View adoptable pets via the Humane Society's Facebook page or petfinder.com, and the adoption application is available at ashlandhumane.org.

As for Pelfrey, he says Padmé seems happy in her new home. She's already met his 20-year-old cat Dexter who tolerates her, and a few of his nieces who adore her. 

"She's gradually getting more comfortable and getting more playful," he said. "She's learning that she doesn't have to be scared. I get down to her level, and she's catching on."  

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