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Review for Mollys Place, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

Short review:

My personal experience with Molly’s Place was negative. In addition, I do not support Molly’s Place Rescue due to the documented history of PA state inspection violations since 2006 that involve the well-being of animals and other offenses.

Detailed review:

I decided to write a detailed, fact-based review on Molly’s Place to help resolve any confusion due to online disputes, and to help people make an informed choice to support the organization or not.

The word “rescue” often has automatic positive associations, but I like to be sure of details surrounding any non-profit organization I consider supporting financially. After reading online reviews, at first it was hard to know what to believe. Molly’s Place has a nice website and has adopted many animals. There are both good and bad comments, along with comments that workers at Molly’s Place Rescue rally to see that the negative reviews are taken down or explained away. A general response to negative reviews about Molly’s Place has been to say “…then come in and see for yourself what a great place it is!”. It’s easy to walk into a rescue filled with cuddly animals and fall in love in a few minutes. You stay for under an hour, and it’s a wonderful experience. You may take home a new furry friend, but the rest of the animals may be there for quite some time. A reasonable overview of what goes on the rest of the time can be understood through public records. After viewing facts about Molly’s Place and through personal experiences, I do not support the rescue and it deserves 1 star for many reasons.

The State of Pennsylvania has ended the guess work by posting official kennel inspection records that can’t be taken down by employees of Molly’s Place. The facts clearly tell a sad story for animals. There have been many warnings and citations issued for years because of kennel code violations, 8 in 2011 alone. Inspection reports state violations on dog run space, enclosure space, maintenance, housekeeping, the physical condition of animals, and more.

There’s no doubt running a rescue is a hard job, but there is no excuse for this number of violations. Due to their extensive history of violations since 2006 and despite the fact that they have not had serious violations in 2012 there is reason for concern. From what I understand, it is under the same management now it was throughout years of violations. It’s reasonable to expect that a business may at times get a negative online review from a difficult individual, but inspection violations that are this frequent over the course of years are alarming.

Claims that the history of kennel violations were minor issues do not coincide with state inspection reports. A state veterinarian had to be present at inspections multiple times, and vet checks were ordered for numerous dogs. It is not logical that a state inspection agency would call for 8 inspections in 2011 alone due to small violations. The extreme number of inspections conducted within the course of one year demonstrates that authorities had serious concerns about this business.

If I have concerns about a business I will at times call the local police department. Police officers are often happy to provide information when they are passionate in a positive or negative manner about a business, or when they are aware of a business that has a history of problems. They are protected by First Amendment rights to offer their opinion as long as it’s not the details of a criminal case. Often, it seems they consider it a public service to keep people informed and I appreciate that. You may want to consider giving the local police department of Mechanicsburg, PA and Hampden Township, PA a call to hear what they have to say about Molly’s Place.

I also read alarming comments about criminal activity by reviewers, which was a little hard to believe. Then, I saw the articles online about a dog theft incident that happened at Molly’s Place involving the current Director. The charges were related to removing a microchip from a dog. The criminal charges were staunchly defended by reviewers with statements such as she was just trying to do the right thing and help a mistreated dog. But, that is not what the owners of that dog said, and the information is also available online. I wouldn’t have thought much about it had discussions of the theft not been accompanied by other online reviews where other people discuss being ripped off in some manner and say that Molly’s Place is about the money, not caring for the animals.

Supporters of Molly’s Place have stated “…the charges were completely dropped and not reduced”. Sounds good, right?

Through researching public sources it became clear that in PA a guilty plea and criminal conviction can be removed from the records if the guilty individual participates in a state-run program as part of their arrangement. But, information regarding how the conviction was removed from the record remains to reveal the real story when the facts are placed in front of a judge. I discovered that someone may claim they had a case dismissed and technically it may be true. However, if that case took place in PA there may be more to the story.

Regarding the 6 dockets available online at the Pennsylvania UJS website, it’s claimed they were not for unsanitary conditions. Yet, when I view the public records online for dockets, I see repeated charges listed as “Fail to Keep Kennel in Sanitary and Humane Condition”. Despite the charges eventually being dropped, I’m confident the arresting officers from the Dog Law Enforcement Agency had a valid reason to bring this matter to the attention of the PA authorities. I have a hard time believing they were repeatedly pestering the court system about Molly’s Place Rescue over a few inches of enclosure space, as people affiliated with the business have stated.

A medical topic worthy of attention is early spay and neuter. It has been stated in a review by a supporter of Molly’s Place that “the only health issue that has been scientifically linked to early spay/neuter is a marginal increase in urinary incontinence in females. This condition is easily treatable through medication”. That information is false.

Studies have proven early neutering of male dogs is known to significantly increase the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in medium/large dogs. If you are interested in this topic, an excellent article available online is “Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs” by Laura Sanborn. While there are both negatives and positives related to early spay and neuter, please remember the time frame that is typically debated is from 8 weeks on at the earliest. Facts are that Molly’s Rescue has spayed and neutered puppies under 6 weeks of age.

Molly’s Place presents information about the high number of animals they adopt out. But, where do the dogs come from?

It’s possible the mixed-breed dog you are paying over $500-$600 for was taken for free or low cost from an out-of-state rescue in VA or neighboring states and transported there. Regularly, Molly’s Place run transports to pick up dogs from out-of-state locations to resell. It is a state requirement that they keep the information regarding incoming animals on file. You can check on a particular animal of interest by asking for records of how they obtained the animal…except for the fact that at times they’ve been written up for not having clear records available for dogs transported in.

What’s the problem if they are saving lives? A quote from Molly’s Place on the website Nonprofit Resource Network states “We also partner with out-of-state shelters and rescue groups who are overcrowded or have limited resources to bring animals slated for death to the safety of our adoption center”. Meanwhile, the Mechanicsburg/Harrisburg area has such severe problems with stray overpopulation that dogs can legally be shot by a private citizen if they merely appear sick or injured. Does Molly’s Place help all strays, or do they help strays that they believe will lead to profit? They are saving lives of out-of-state animals because they can profit from those animals, they are doing it at the expense of animals in their own area, and they are doing it while fully aware of the problems in their own locality.

On July 14, 2011, inspection reports show “It was recommended to the kennel owner to temporarily discontinue taking in new dogs, puppies or adults, to provide her with more space and options to come into compliance with the regulations and the statute”. As local struggles with overpopulation have come to a head, transports from out of state have continued.

Rescues often respond to questions about their high fees by stating the long list of health care needs they provide for the animal before they can be adopted. Obviously, there is no need to pay for these services included in an adoption fee if an animal has already had vaccines, or were spayed/neutered etc. before they arrived at the business. It seems worthwhile to inquire about this as well. There can be many claims of why their high fees are necessary, but nothing can explain away the reasons behind the unacceptable conditions the animals were subjected to.

My husband and I are former volunteers of the Twin County Humane Society based in Galax, VA. In October 2012, my husband and I were asked to take in a pregnant dog and we helped with the birth of five puppies. We raised them with the trust and assumption they would be headed to a shelter without a long history of violations. Our belief was we would be helping the mother dog and her puppies, as well as helping to make Christmas special for a family or individual when they adopted a healthy, well-socialized puppy for a moderate cost typically charged by rescues across the nation (around $110-$150). The puppies were transported to Molly’s Place. We wish we knew more about the problems with this rescue before they were sent there.

We want the families who adopted the Husky puppies Kodiak, Polar, Bear, Grizzly, and Panda and their mother Starr in December 2012 to know we feel high adoption fees are unfortunate. Had we known about Molly’s Place we would not have been willing participants. It is legal to charge a very high price for a mixed-breed puppy, but we feel it is wrong from an ethical perspective, especially for a federally tax-sheltered non-profit organization. It compromises the essence of what an animal rescue should be, and compromises the goodwill of people who wish to adopt a rescued animal rather than go to a breeder.

For example, when I look at public state inspection records from in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011, I see that inspectors raised issues about the size of dog enclosure spaces. I want to know why a rescue claiming great concern for animals who asks an enormous adoption fee has taken so long for this issue to be resolved. A lot of excuses can be made about why Molly’s Place Rescue didn’t take care of these issues, but the fact remains that the animals were subjected to these conditions.

When I began to voice my concern about Molly’s Place, the reaction I received from parties involved in the transports from Virginia and from the Director of Molly’s Place made clear this was a situation worthy of closer inspection and confirmed some of the negative reviews about erratic behavior and rudeness. Luckily, I have it documented. The reactions clued me into the fact there was a lot more to this story, especially when I was told I “don’t want to go this route” by voicing my concerns. As I understand it from reviews, others have had similar run around.

Thank you to all of the people who took the time to review Molly’s Place, especially the gentleman who said “you can keep taking my post down and I’ll keep posting it”. I feel the same way. I’m happy to provide evidence to prove these comments are based in facts and that I’ve portrayed the history of violations in an accurate light. I consider it a public service regarding the welfare of animals to provide the documentation behind the facts to ensure my review remains online to serve the public, unlike some of the other negative reviews which have been removed for various reasons. Any one of you can easily find the information regarding PA state inspection records, court records, as well as information on the mechanisms of the Pennsylvania legal system.

Is everyone who leaves a negative review about Molly’s Place crazy? Or, are there justified reasons why people are so vocal about what is happening there? It’s likely my comments will be ripped apart as have all other negative reviews, so rather than engage in nonsense why not go to public sources of information and decide for yourself?

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Role:  General Member of the Public