Saturday, March 24, 2012

Southeast Llama Rescue: A Second Chance

Chris Stull, SELR
Formed in September, 2001, SELR was an informal NC group of people who wanted to rescue animals in need and educate people with llamas. Part animal control and public service with "a bunch of volunteers," they applied for non-profit status and became a BOD organization with 27 state-adoption coordinators. From FL to MA, west to Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan as most active states, SELR is a well-orchestrated group. Because the group grew so large so quickly, the group branched into SELR and SWLR. Since their inception, they have taken in 854 animal as of today's date, not including the Montana rescue (Camelid Coalition). Chris Stull is PLAA's Keynote Speaker and we are very pleased to have her with us today.

39 animals currently available for adoption on SELR website
Regular maintenance is not reimbursed to volunteers, but non-routine maintenance for animals is covered. SELR is an educational organization that seeks to help people learn about their animals, especially if they are the smaller farm without access to benefits of organizational membership. SELR does not wish to compete with breeders but rather help in a complementary way animals who have been abandoned but deserve a second chance. Potential adopters are screened to be certain people have the necessary housing/fencing for the animal they are rescuing. Llamas and alpacas are delivered to the adopters' door, and the new owners and taught the basics of camelid care.

Outreach is a large part of SELR; llamas are shown in parades, taken to hospitals, and put in public places at events to encourage adoption. Their motto is helping animals. This year, 224 animals came into SELR. Of those 224, 173 were adopted. SELR has permanent fosters too; 22 to be exact because of unusual medical needs or age. The need for animal control officers is rising, and SELR is called more frequently to testify, a sad trend. More recently, animals die because rescue intervention did not happen soon enough, not a fault of rescue but rather of the owners. Most llamas die of starvation because of owner neglect. The ravages of starvation take its toll, from fat to muscle to organ damage. Horrible conditions even with feeding simply causes some rescued llamas to die. You never know the damage done to the rescued animal.

A wonderful website, worth visiting again and again!!
Happy stories happen. A young llama caught in a barbed-wire fence, not noticed nor attended to, had her leg grow around the wire, but happily, surgery removed the wire without damaging the leg bone. SELR has no presence in NJ: there are llamas there but it's a dead zone without coordinators or rescuers. When asked how SELR is funded, the answer was two-fold: donations (often generous) plus the rescue fee.

Life changes. As it does, llamas are impacted. But Chris noted that we are not seeing behaviorally-challenged animals coming into rescue, and that is a benefit. Working for her PowerPoint, Chris retold the tale of the Montana Rescue, noting that SELR cannot take full credit for the rescue; they were just helpers. Animeals, a cat rescue, began the rescue. PLAA was blessed with SELR's story, told by Chris Stull, of their incredible rescue work.

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