Animal rescue groups and the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office are working to collect 40 adult dogs and six puppies being given up by their owners.
Stevens County Sheriff Kendall Allen said his deputies had been called to a home west of Deer Park off Swenson Road several times for various animal complaints but never found anyone home.
“We had a report recently of one of the dogs biting someone,” he said.
When deputies arrived in response to an animal welfare complaint Tuesday evening, the owners were home. “I think the folks started with a couple of dogs and it grew from there,” he said. “They weren’t capable of taking care of the animals, financially.”
Some of the animals were chained up while others were running loose or in outdoor pens, Allen said. There’s no indication that any of them were deprived of food, he said.
Stevens County does not have an animal control program, so his office reached out to local animal rescue groups, Allen said. Rescue4All and the Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team spent Wednesday and Thursday transporting the dogs to an emergency shelter at the Clayton Fairgrounds, he said.
“This was a serious and desperate situation, and time was of the essence, so we couldn’t say no,” said a post on the Rescue4All Facebook page.
The rescue group is asking for volunteers to help care for the dogs, all of which appear to be Labrador retrievers, and donations of dog food, cleaning supplies and light blankets. Donations can be dropped off at the Clayton Fairgrounds. More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allen said no decision has been made on whether the owners might face animal cruelty charges. “We haven’t gone that far yet,” he said. “They’re cooperating right now. They’re doing the right thing.”
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