Delco Dawgs faces critical need in animal care operation

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Friday, August 4, 2023
Delco Dawgs faces critical need in animal care operation
Delco Dawgs, an all-volunteer foster-based operation, is facing a 'crisis point' in their quest to leave no dog behind.

MALVERN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Jill Speckman of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, left behind a 25-year-long career in radio to pursue a job with no salary: caring for the kinds of dogs who are most in need.

"There was a large problem in Delaware County with animals, just not having enough animal control, not having enough humane officers," said Speckman. "And I wanted to really work with them. So, I was at a point in my life where I was able to make that switch."

Speckman founded 'Delco Dawgs,' which eventually grew into an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. Without a brick-and-mortar location, the effort relies on foster and adoptive families to give dogs a roof over their heads.

Their mission grew to include search and rescue operations for lost dogs, often cooperating with distressed pet owners and local law enforcement. They also started to take in abused and injured animals in order to connect them with critical care services.

That care comes at a cost, which is funded by donations from within the community. Some dollars even come out of the pockets of volunteers.

To provide such care, Delco Dawgs has relied on local veterinarians such as the staff at VRC Emergency Pet Care & Specialty Hospital in Malvern, PA.

"The people are wonderful. They let us hold a credit limit here," said Speckman. "But our bills get so high so quickly, that even in just a couple of months, the bill gets up to $100,000."

A summertime surge in lost or mistreated dogs has caused the nonprofit to reach that $100,000 cap. Thus, Delco Dawgs was forced to pause the intake of any new animals for medical care.

They will still perform search and rescue operations. And even when encountering a dog who requires medical attention, they will go out of their way to see if care is possible. But the direct healthcare pipeline created as a result of Delco Dawgs' fundraising and volunteerism is currently on hold.

"We take in the worst of the worst, so they work with us," said Speckman. "But we are at a crisis point where we need help."

Speckman hopes that new fundraising events and merchandising will contribute to the relief of their medical bills. But she is also putting out a call for donations big and small on social media.

To learn more or get involved, visit the Delco Dawgs Facebook page.

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