Many Tears Animal Rescue (MTAR) is based in Carmarthenshire, Wales but has dogs in foster homes throughout the UK. We take in and rehome primarily ex-breeding dogs who are no longer required; those on "death row" in the pounds and those whose owners are no longer able to keep them.
We are a unique rescue in that the majority of our dogs are ex-breeders and many have never seen the outside world before. With the help of our staff, fosterers and other volunteers we provide a special and loving environment to help all our dogs adapt and find permanent, loving new homes. All potential adopters are interviewed and homes vetted and we do our utmost best to find the right home for each dog. The rescue has grown considerably since it first opened and now homes in excess of 3,000 dogs a year.
All our dogs are spayed/neutered, micro chipped, inoculated and wormed but in addition to this we get many dogs in need of specialist veterinary care. Some of the most frequent problems we encounter are dogs who arrive here with eye and heart problems, along with those with liver shunts and joint problems. Any treatment is required is financed by donations to the rescue which enable us to ensure each dog receives the specialist care it needs.
Sylvia Van Atta was the founder of Brook Cottage Animal Rescue then went on to build and open Last Chance Animal Rescue in Edenbridge, Kent. She also helped build Elait Loves Animals a rescue home in Israel and then ran Harmony Rescue in Tucson Arizona.
In her years of working to help animals Sylvia has worked with many different kinds of people - some very caring, and others not so. She has learnt that in the animal rescue world there are all kind of people. There are people who talk about doing things but never do! Those who simply use animals as an income and those who dedicated their lives to save animals from all kinds of horrific situations. In all her work Sylvia has never hidden her activities and beliefs and below is an account of her life before Many Tears.
In 2003 Sylvia and her husband Bill ran The Humane Society of Richmond County in North Carolina USA. They took this huge challenge on when they discovered that all the animals that were not homed from this rescue were taken away and destroyed. This was done by the two dog catchers who strangled the kittens and puppies, gassed the cats and shot the dogs. Sylvia and Bill only took this job on because of their very deep love and respect for animals.
However to be able to change the terrible cruelty she witnessed in North Carolina she had to learn and give a lethal injections simply because there were no homes for the animals. By taking this job she lost friends and had others criticise her, saying they loved animals far too much to ever kill them.
Whilst running The Humane Society Sylvia and Bill managed to build happy cat rooms and along with a very caring staff and wonderful volunteers. They found no kill shelters all over the USA who were willing to help by taking some of the cats and dogs and finding them homes. Sometimes the rescues were an 18 hour drive away but to Sylvia and Bill every single life was worth the effort. They were able to send animals to other no kill shelters and saved around 120 lives each month. Those they could not send on were still saved from suffering a painful and stressful death.
In the US Sylvia and Bill achieved their aims and ensured every animal that came to the rescue was treated with love and respect and given the best possible care. After 10 months at The Humane Society, despite all their efforts, over 2000 feline and canine lives were lost and Sylvia and Bill felt they could no longer continue. However, alongside with all those at the Society who really cared they ensured the rescue would only move forwards and never back. Sylvia kept in touch with someone who lives in Richmond County and is pleased to know the staff are working very hard to reach their goal to make the Humane Society a no kill shelter.
She hates what she did but someone had to be the one to change the dogs and cats fate. She wishes the staff and director strength and courage to achieve the goal of becoming A NO KILL SHELTER!!!
It was then in 2004 that Sylvia and Bill bought Cawdor Kennels. The previous owners had a yard with kennels used for show dogs and they used these to open their new rescue.
A word from Sylvia
I feel here I need to say a few words to explain that though a strong believer in "no kill" rescue homes, I am now a realist not an ostrich. I used to avoid any rescue that euthanised animals, instead of opening my eyes and going to them to help to change them. Necessity and my love of animals made me a murderer (taking innocent lives) and I will never accept I was anything else. Worse still, when I could no longer take anymore - I left (though, of course, I waited till a replacement was found).
Many times when walking the rows of kennels at The Human Society and being greeted joyfully by my friends, I would then have to betray them and walk them to the room of death. There I would gently take their trusting paws, shave their legs and administer the fatal injection. All the while they lovingly gazed into my eyes and wagged their tails. Cat, dog, puppy and kitten all took with them a little of my life as I took theirs. To add insult to injury they were then put into black bin liners and put into the freezer until one of the two dog catchers came and tossed them on their truck and dumped them in the land fill!
My tears still flow and I know they always will. I have been told "The soul can have no rainbows, less the eyes have shed some tears" a saying that has become deeply associated with Many Tears.