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‘Didn’t deserve to be ambushed’ Bakersville woman speaks out after 45 dogs taken from home

<i></i><br/>Pam Jezik
Lawrence, Nakia

Pam Jezik

By Taylor Thompson

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    MITCHELL COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A Mitchell County woman whose 45 dogs were recently surrendered is now telling her side of the story.

Pam Jezik, the owner of Fifi’s Friends Rescue at Laughing Dog Farm, is speaking out almost two weeks after the dogs were taken from her home in Bakersville.

Back on Oct. 11, the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Mitchell County Animal Shelter, went to Jezik’s home after Sheriff Donald Street said that they received an anonymous tip and Jezik agreed to give up her dogs.

According to Jezik, it did not go down exactly as officials previously said.

She said she moved to Bakersville back in 2005 with 17 dogs and her rescue group continued to grow over the years to almost 50 dogs in her home before they were surrendered.

“It took every second of every day, you know, for me to take care of them,” Jezik said. “I mean I would be the first one to tell you it was too many.”

Jezik said she couldn’t just stop caring for the dogs and that it’s been a challenge to get them adopted as she said the rescue world has been in a crisis for the last couple of years.

She expressed how she was shocked when deputies showed up unannounced at her home on that Wednesday as she said she’s worked with the county a lot over the years.

“We’ve worked together,” she said. “You know, I know they have more resources, they have more volunteers, they have paid staff and money, they can get donations easier than I can.”

She said that she was inside of her house the morning when the deputies arrived.

“It was almost like I was a fugitive hiding from the law,” she described. “I had friends calling me like, ‘what’s going on, what’s going on?'”

She remembered her conversation with one of the deputies.

“He said, ‘your dogs are suffering’ and I said ‘why are they suffering?’ and I said ‘because they’re in crates when I go to work?’ And he said, ‘yeah.’ So they take them and they’ve been in crates for over two weeks now,” she said.

Jezik said that while she did technically surrender the dogs, it didn’t feel that way.

“They made all these threats and said, you know, we have people here, we have rescues that are lined up to help with the dogs. If you don’t take that help today then I’m going to charge you with everything I can charge you with,” she claimed.

She said that all she wants is for her dogs to get placed and go to loving homes and that it felt like they were trying to make her look bad and turn the community against her.

“Would I have liked help? Of course, pick up the phone and come on over. You know, I considered them my friends, I did,” she said.

Jezik added that she felt like she was ambushed and did not deserve to be treated like a criminal.

“Do I have too many dogs? Heck yeah. Did it take me every second of every day to take care of them? Heck yeah. Was it a race? Yeah. Was is stressful? Absolutely,” she expressed.

Now, Jezik said that she is going to focus on the remaining dogs she still has and also try to work to help the dogs that are now in the care of the county get to their forever homes.

Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street released a statement on the matter as he said that they had received an anonymous tip that led them to Jezik’s home:

We often contact our local animal shelter on animal cases, lots of times they have more knowledge. In this case since there were questions about licensing, we contacted the NC Dept of Agriculture. During our investigation Ms. Jezik agreed to surrender the dogs.

I believe she surrendered 45 dogs. The animals do appear to be healthy. The Sheriff’s office has no plans to charge her with any crime.

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