AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - This isn't your average pet adoption story.
"The 6 dogs we got from Mexico was sold from a pound down there, sold to a non-disclosed laboratory university we were fortunate enough to have a group of people down there. They go to these places and ask if they have any dogs ready to be relinquished."
Martin Palmer is a volunteer at Rescue + Freedom Project saves animals all around the globe from laboratory experiments, hoarding cases, the meat trade, unique captivity and cruelty, and death row.
This loving interaction is fresh for these animals, because it's their first time taking steps of freedom at Shady Acres Pet Ranch in Round Rock. Palmer says, "The laboratories they don't want you to know they're testing on animals. They have these rooms where the dogs you can't hear them barking."
Rescue + Freedom Project also rescued five guinea pigs and six rabbits, and they've already found their forever home. But these dogs still need a loving place to live for life. "We're taking these dogs out of an environment where it was hell for them and torture and put them here at Shady Acres we don't have to worry about them anymore because they care. They're going to get what they need."
Volunteers Angela and Martin met some people on their team in Laredo Friday morning to receive the animals. From there, it's very fast paced. "Hey we have a rescue happening in 78 hours or it could happen in 24 hours it really depends on how fast we get them out of this laboratory."
The animals go to a vet first to see if they're okay and to check their blood work. Making them ready to adopt. But adjustment to life may be harder for some.
"That's where that patience comes in. You can't just take a dog and think everything's going to be hunky-dory. Not how it works you have to have the patience, compassion and the follow through the commitment."
The organization says pound seizure is the practice of animal shelters selling or giving cats and dogs for experimentation or research. The cats and dogs are obtained from the shelter by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) random-source Class B dealers (animal brokers) or directly by research facilities or educational training institutions (such as medical or veterinary training schools).
The charity says there is an even deeper issue with this: Many "Class B" dealers are random crooks - it is very easy to get a license from the USDA. They then go around stealing people's family companions out of their yards and selling them to labs. This has been a major issue in the U.S. for decades.
Both the pounds (shelters) and the laboratories profit off of these animals who were most of the time someone's lost dog. It adds, "this is the truly heart-breaking part of all of this: Dogs get lost who are used to living in a home with people who love them, sleeping on couches, being warm and having toys, to then being in a cold shelter with other dogs barking non-stop, to then being sold to a laboratory living in a steel cage with nothing around them, to be abused and tortured by "technicians" to then, most of the time, being killed. Currently, 33 states still allow pound seizure."
"Application for foster and adopters are in website and we also have a donation section which is how we operate since we are a nonprofit and can't do it without the help of donors. That is how we make all this possible. These rescues are extremely expensive with flight costs and medical costs. We recently bought a property and made it a sanctuary for our rescues which they await to be fostered or adopted and it was recently burned down by wildfires. Luckily we got all the animals out in time but the sanctuary didn't survive and we need the help of donors to help us find a new facility so we can have a place to have all our rescues!"