Lab Rescue Coordinator Closing Operation
After six years and more than 1,500 animal rescues, Moore Labs is closing - at least for now.
Debbie Letteney, founder of the group, is moving to Apex with her husband, John, who is leaving his job as Southern Pines police chief to take a similar post in the Raleigh suburb.
Debbie Letteney, who started Moore Labs shortly after the family relocated to North Carolina from New York, said she planned to keep the organization open, but it wasn't economically feasible.
"The truth is it cost me about $800 a month out of my pocket to run it," Letteney said of the organization. "Our choices were fund it remotely without me having my hands on it, or close it, because there is no money to support it."
Moore Labs, which rescues pure- and mixed-breed Labradors from North and South Carolina, will continue to operate until it can adopt out 16 dogs it has remaining in foster homes. Eleven of those are puppies, including five Letteney rescued Friday.
Letteney is hopeful that won't take too long.
"The beauty of Labs is 99 percent of the time their personality leads them to be adopted and live a good family life."
In its first year, Moore Labs rescued and adopted out 18 dogs. This year and last, more than 700 dogs were taken in and adopted out.
The work couldn't be done by Letteney alone. She credits her partner in the organization, Naomi Johnson, as well as a group of foster families for helping raise and care for the rescued dogs until they found permanent homes.
"I couldn't have, wouldn't have done this without out them and all our volunteers," she said. "My fosters are most of my best friends. They are my go-to people."
One of those foster families is Bill and Rovena Mierisch. The Mierischs have taken in multiple litters of puppies and have become a go-to foster home, Letteney said. Currently they have a litter of six rescued a week ago.
Bill Mierisch, who said he fostered his first dog when his daughter "conned me into it," is hopeful that the organization can continue in the future, but he is realistic too.
"Life goes on, things change," he said. "Circumstances change us. We have enjoyed doing it (fostering dogs), and hopefully we can continue to do so in the future."
While living in New York, the Letteneys for five years raised guide dogs. It was Debbie's intent to do that when she arrived in Southern Pines, but she learned that the guide dog program was operated through the prison system.
"Rescue is what filled my time when I first got here and didn't know anybody. It allowed me to meet some really cool people I otherwise wouldn't have met."
Letteney didn't rule out restarting a rescue when the family gets settled.
"The need is not going to stop," she said. "(Running a rescue) is not hard, but it is horribly time-consuming and expensive."
For information, visit the Moore Labs website at: www.petfinder.com/shelters/NC675.html
For now the group will keep its website up and will continue to accept back any dogs it adopted out that are now no longer wanted and no more dogs with be accepted from shelters..
"One of our fosters said to me, 'Why don't we downsize and call it 'A Few Moore Labs,'" Letteney said with a smile.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey@ thepilot.com.
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