A life and death battle will be decided on July 17 in the agriculture community of Marshan Township, in Dakota County, MN. That will be the day when Braveheart Rescue, Inc. learns whether the town board approves a plan to keep the sanctuary for dogs open or if the 18 dogs that live there will be seized and sent to a certain death at the city shelter. The opposing sides have been in a heated fight for months, but the dogs will be the ones to pay the price when the verdict is handed down.
The problems faced by Braveheart Rescue, Inc. have become a political nightmare for its founder Brandi Tracy and the Marshan Township board as each stands firm in its beliefs; which all began over a business license.
In an interview Tracy explained that she owned a boarding kennel for dogs with a 10-year license that was fully sanctioned by the Marshan Township. That business license was due to expire in December 2011 and she planned to renew it as a nonprofit animal rescue in January 2012. Tracy said she was happy running the kennel, but little by little she was drawn into the world of animal rescue as people asked her advice about hard to handle dogs or brought homeless dogs to her. Three years ago she decided she preferred rescuing and rehabilitating dogs, so she filed to become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and opened Braveheart Rescue, Inc.
“I learned I had a knack for rehabilitating dogs and getting them back into balance. We had one rule for the dogs; no biting. Dogs were immediately corrected if they bit me or a volunteer or each other. Otherwise I allowed them to play on my five-acres and get back to being dogs,” said Tracy.
Braveheart specialized in rescuing large dogs that had been neglected and abused. At one point 30 canines lived on the property. Once they were rehabilitated, sterilized and given a clean bill of health by a veterinarian the dogs were adopted into new homes.
While Braveheart never kept its presence a secret, it never filed for a new license in 2012. In April Tracy received a registered letter summoning her to a town board meeting. “I thought it was going to be about transferring my license, but instead it was a witch hunt,” said Tracy.
The township was angry and waived a rule book at her. To make matters worse when the board made an on-site visit to the sanctuary, a volunteer let a puppy get too close to a large dog and it was bitten. While the puppy recovered, the relationship with the town board went from bad to worse.
A Compromise To Save The Dogs
To save the remaining 18 dogs, a dissolution plan has been proposed to the Marshan Township by a third party. It gives Brandi Tracy one year to rehabilitate the dogs currently at the sanctuary and find homes for them. While Tracy explained that she is not pleased with the plan and would like to be granted a license as a nonprofit animal rescue group, the dissolution plan may be the one compromise the township might accept. It also shows great concern for the dogs at Braveheart Rescue that face euthanasia if the township closes the sanctuary.
Photo Credit: BraveheartRescue