Volunteers are seeking homes for more than 30 Siberian husky dogs rescued from squalid conditions at a Stevens County home this week.
Members of the nonprofit group Partners for Pets became aware of the dogs’ plight when their owner told Colville dog breeder Carol Thomas that she desperately needed food for her animals.
Thomas contacted Partners for Pets, which launched the rescue operation.
On Sunday, volunteers went to the unidentified owner’s home outside Inchelium, Wash. They found 23 adult dogs and 11 puppies chained outside a ramshackle trailer. The huskies range in age from 8 weeks to 10 years.
The animals were covered with lice and sores and lacked adequate food and water, said Robin Kennedy, vice president of Partners for Pets. Some of the dogs were eating snow for moisture, Kennedy said.
The animals’ owner agreed to let the volunteers take the dogs, Kennedy said.
The woman apparently has a mental disability and lives on state assistance, both Kennedy and Thomas said.
She moved to her current home from California seven years ago and brought a few of the dogs with her, which she bred to sell the puppies, Thomas said.
The woman, whose trailer has no electricity or running water, kept all the pups that didn’t sell. She soon found herself with too many dogs to feed, Thomas said, and resorted to giving the dogs scraps or small portions of canned tuna.
“She didn’t know where the dogs’ next meal was going to come from, much less her own meal,” Kennedy said.
The woman called Thomas for help this past weekend.
“We’re very lucky that she called when she did,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we go out and half of them are already dead.”
Two male dogs were in such bad shape they had to be put down, Kennedy said.
One was in excruciating pain because its choke chain had rubbed a large wound on its neck, and the skin had grown back over the chain. The other was in shock and suffering from anemia because of lice bites.
Volunteers took 17 adult dogs and 11 puppies from the home Sunday. They went back Wednesday and rescued four more dogs and two cats.
They planned to return today for two more dogs that were running loose Wednesday and couldn’t be caught.
Volunteers took the dogs to the Spokane Humane Society, where the animals were inoculated and examined by a veterinarian. “The Humane Society stepped forward when no one else would,” Kennedy said.
The four dogs brought in Wednesday were filthy and full of lice. At least two of them had lesions on their necks where their choke collars rubbed them raw. They all had sores on other parts of their bodies.
The dogs will be held at the Humane Society until Monday, when they will be transferred to a private kennel until they are adopted.
Kennedy and Thomas said the woman apparently didn’t understand that her dogs were suffering. No criminal charges are planned.
“She really, really thinks she loves these dogs,” Thomas said. “She knows now she’s not been good to her dogs.”
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Donations Partners for Pets is soliciting donations to pay for medical care and kennel space for more than 30 neglected Siberian husky dogs. Donations can be made to the “Timber Fund” at any Washington Trust Bank branch or sent to the attention of Robin Kennedy at Partners for Pets, P.O. Box 364, Liberty Lake, Wash., 99010. People interested in adopting the dogs can call (509) 327-9514 or send e-mail to Homestead@plix.com.