Updated 7:11 p.m.: A man who adopted a puppy from Brown-Parr defended her today and said she is being villified by the media despite her efforts to save dogs "slated for death."
"We adopted a great, healthy, puppy from this lady," said Richard, who asked that his last name not be used.
"I do not want to lose my pup!"
Richard said the media "fails to mention that she would drive to West Virginia and save dogs that were slated for death" and "is making her out to be a horrible person."
"I couldn't be more happy with the puppy she blessed us with and hope the media does a little more homework before throwing this lady under the bus," he said.
A woman operating an unlicensed animal shelter is under investigation for allegedly placing dogs with families without a license and exposing more than 20 dogs to possible parvovirus, "a highly contagious and often fatal infection," the state Department of Environmental Management said today in a release.
The DEM's agriculture and law enforcement divisions received a report of an unlicensed shelter that held a dog adoption event at the Exeter Animal Shelter on Jan. 29. The event was unaffiliated with the town.
Investigators learned that Gina Brown-Parra, operator of Ryan's Hope Rescue, brought several dogs to the event that were offered for adoption at a price of about $300 per dog. Because she has never received a license to operate an animal shelter, she was issued a cease and desist order by DEM.
The DEM eventually learned that Brown-Parra placed as many as 20 dogs at the Jan. 29 event and some of them may have been picked up as strays in Providence, Cranston and Coventry. Several dogs still in her possession were turned over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Monday.
One of the dogs was allegedly picked up as a stray in South Providence and has since died from being infected with canine parvovirus, a highly contagious and often fatal infection.
If you adopted one of Brown-Parra's dogs, contact your vet right away, the DEM recommended, especially for any dogs showing symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, depression or fever.
If your dog is sick, contact the state vet, Scott Marshall, at 222-4700 x4503 so other parties can be notified of possible contact with an infected dog.
If you are missing a dog from the Providence, Cranston or Coventry areas, contact the city's animal control. The DEM is coordinating with local communities to determine if missing pets were adopted or fostered through Ryan's Hope Rescue.