DETERMINED NOT TO DIE: Dumped, starving puppy recovering thanks to rescue efforts

Published 12:51 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

NATCHEZ — One Natchez puppy, apparently determined not to die, is clinging to life thanks to Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue.

“On Oct. 31, we got a call from a resident who lives on Foster Mound Road about this starving puppy,” said Kathy Fitch. “It was one of the first near freezing nights of the season.”

Fitch, who along with her husband, Jay Fitch, and a team of staffers and volunteers, operates Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue. The team rescued the puppy, now named Penelope.

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“This tiny dog did not deserve to starve and die alone,” said Jay Fitch.

They are hopeful that their intervention will save the dog, although concerns about exposure to Parvo linger.

Upon intake, the staff and volunteers at HPR immediately began treating her and kept her resting on a heating pad to warm her up. After loving care and multiple small meals, Penelope is standing, wagging her tail and is on the road to recovery while being closely monitored by the HPR team.

“I think she is going to make it. She could have been exposed to Parvo. That area is a big dumping ground. The county landfill is on that road and that is one of our biggest dumping areas. We have taken in several pregnant dogs that have raised their litters there. And we’ve taken a lot of individual pups form that area,” Fitch said. “One of the litters of puppies taken in a few months ago had Parvo, which is prevalent in that area. Penelope could have Parvo. We don’t know yet. It’s a two week incubation period on Parvo. So far, she is good, but we’ve had her just about a week.”

If Penelope escapes the threat of Parvo, she still faces a long recovery. “Sadly, it will be a long struggle for her. This is a scenario repeated often throughout the Miss-Lou,” Jay Fitch said.

That kind of call is nothing new to the Fitches and others who help rescue abused, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats in the Miss-Lou.

“We are getting so many dumped dogs. We’ve taken them from all over the Miss-Lou to the point that we are full of adult dogs right now. It’s gotten to be a really big problem. We hope law enforcement will take this seriously,” she said.

Apparently stray and roaming dogs in the City of Natchez have become such a problem, people are taking it upon themselves to “relocate” them to areas in the county, Fitch said.

“Isn’t that just dumping them again?” she asked. “We are taking as many as we can. We have taken literally hundreds of dogs and cats that have been dumped this year alone.”

Fitch asked residents to be vigilant if they see someone dumping a dog or dogs. She asked that they get the license number and other identifying information about the vehicle and turn that in to law enforcement.

“And we hope law enforcement also will be vigilant,” she said.

The area of Foster Mound Road is one of several favorite, remote areas for those who dump pregnant dogs, older dogs and litters of puppies.

Abandoned animals often die a cruel death from starvation, disease, exposure, being hit by a car or killed by another bigger dog or a wild animal.

“A first offense for aggravated animal cruelty is a felony with penalties up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A subsequent offense for committing the same crime within five years carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. If you observe someone dumping or abusing an animal, report it. We will prosecute the offenders,” said Deputy Karen Ewing of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

“As her recovery progresses, Penelope will become available for adoption. If you would like to donate to help defray the cost of her care in the meantime, visit,” Jay Fitch said.