Massive Oregon Dog Rescue Underway

 |  Dec 9th 2009  |   10 Contributions


One of many dogs chained to vehicles and surviving with no shelter in terrible conditions

Breaking news: Oregon Humane Society (OHS) rescue teams are in the midst of finding and saving as many as 100 dogs and puppies living in deplorable conditions on a rural Eastern Oregon property.

Most of the dogs have little or no shelter from the snow, wind, and frigid temperatures (11 degrees Monday night) of this high-desert area. According to the OHS some of the dogs are living underground in holes covered with planks, and some are chained to farm equipment.

The dogs -- some of whom have nails so long they're curled over and growing into their paws -- have survived by eating cattle carcasses their people got from a local meat processing plant. Piles of bones and cattle skeletons litter the property, joined by the unburied remains of at least one dog.

It sounds like a scene from a very chilly hell.

A dog peers out from hole dug for shelter under planks.  Cattle bones litter the ground.

But fortunately, the dogs are about to start living decidedly heavenly lives. The OHS, whose headquarters are six hours away, is in the lengthy process of rescuing the dogs. They should all be at the shelter by late afternoon Wednesday. (Four of the puppies are only one week old, and will need extra TLC.)

OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon says that most of the dogs are highly adoptable. "...despite their living conditions, (the dogs) are friendly to people and want to be around us. I hope we can get them into loving homes in time for the holidays." Most are border collie, Australian shepherd, and Shiba Inu mixes.

Three people who live in the trailers on the property have been arrested and charged with animal neglect. But this wasn't necessarily a case of willful intent to harm the dogs, as is so easy to imagne in a case like this. In fact, OHS spokesman David Lytle said in an article on OregonLive.com, "I would call this a hoarding case. The woman was very attached to a lot of the dogs." Lytle said the dogs miraculously didn't seem to be malnourished.

Click the heart to make a donation to the slammed OHS

The dogs will be arriving at a very full OHS shelter Wednesday; Some 118 rat terriers rescued from an overwhelmed breeder in Tillamook arrived at the Portland shelter Tuesday. That's a story in and of itself, and you can read about it on the OHS site.

The OHS could use some help. It's asking for donations of puppy food, large crates, shredded paper and cash so the shelter can house the dogs and get them adoption-ready as soon as possible. Click here to donate money. At the bottom of the donation page you'll find contact information if you have questions about donating other items, or about adopting the rescued dogs.

(Some images from the below OHS video footage of the scene may be disturbing to more sensitive viewers.)

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