A quick update today on the large breed dog hoarding case. We have been overwhelmed in the best possible way with the outpouring of support. I’ll get to all of the ways you’ve made this an amazing week at the shelter, but first, I’ll attempt to answer some questions that have popped up too.
- The Shelter does not do animal control anymore, that is a function of the City of Cheyenne. We have decided to label this a hoarding case due to the large number of animals, the fact that they are filthy, covered in their own waste, were permitted to breed indiscriminately, had no medical records or established relationship with a veterinarian, and have untreated illnesses and injuries. The Shelter has no authority anymore to issue citations, pursue charges, or seize animals. Animal Control decided not to cite the owner due to his willingness to cooperate with the seizure. We support this decision since these cases are generally difficult to prosecute and result in the animals being confined to the Shelter as evidence for very long periods of time and at enormous cost.
- We do not yet know anything about the birds. We were initially told there would be 100 or more but that number continues to change (diminishing over time). We are now expecting some to arrive tomorrow but we do not know how many or what kind.
- While this is an urgent situation, I want to be very clear that in no way are these animals’ lives in danger. Most of the dogs are gentle giants, and their illnesses and injuries are minor. The sense of urgency is due to the sheer volume of them and the fact that we were nearly at capacity with other dogs when they came in. It is our responsibility to help animals stay as comfortable as possible, and also – to get them out of here safely as fast as possible. That being said, our team is working diligently to provide the necessary care and they are doing an absolutely incredible job of it. Every animal in the shelter is getting daily feedings, enrichment, and out-of-the-kennel time. Many of the hoarded dogs are already showing huge improvements in their leashed behaviors and are actively soliciting attention from their caretakers. Our veterinary team has seen and addressed injuries and illnesses in over two dozen of them in the past 48 hours. They are on needed medications. We have made contacts with numerous rescue groups and are encouraged by the interest from our community in adopting and fostering.
- We are working as fast as possible to make them available to you for fostering and adoption. Some dogs are already on our adoption floor and are ready either for adoption or for foster-to-adopt today. Check them out on our website (and forgive the photos, I took them myself through the kennels in order to share this information with you). More will come available every day. We are doing the easiest, fastest dogs first. These are generally the younger ones with the shorter hair. They require less extensive grooming (many will have to be sedated and fully shaved) and less comprehensive behavior assessments.
Now, to the really good stuff:
- I was told that, with 2 exceptions, every single dog we made eligible for foster care since Monday has gone to a foster home. Amazing! This includes all of our pregnant females.
- We have been flooded with dog food donations! Thanks to Cathy Norris, Jeff and Karen Callahan, Cheyenne Dog Food Company, Walmart on Livingstone, David Pope, and Dr. Elsey’s for the generous donations. There are more coming and names I know I have missed here. Please forgive me and know that every act of generosity is fueling this team’s exhaustion and hope. It means the world.
- Frontier Veterinary Clinic and Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic have volunteered to assist with spay and neuter surgeries over the next couple of weeks, which will hugely speed our ability to move these animals along in their journey.
- Black Dog Animal Rescue took 5 animals into their care, including one of the pregnant moms!
- Nirvana Pet Spa has offered to take one giant, poop-caked dog a day and groom them for us. I can’t wait to see how incredible they are going to be!
- Re/Max Capital Properties, Pokey’s Bar & Grill, Dry Creek Dental, Girlscout Troop 76066, and many others are setting up supply drives.
- Community Action of Laramie County has volunteered mental health care services for overwhelmed or compassion-fatigued staff.
- Since Monday, we have had 24 adoptions, including 13 of our longer-term dogs. One of the silver-linings of a big, unusual case like this is that it draws attention to all of the animals in the shelter and many who were waiting a long time have found a forever home as a result.
- Our adoption promotion continues with $99 adoption fees for all adults. Some adult dogs on our adoption floor are not yet spayed or neutered. These dogs are eligible for foster-to-adopt. So if you want them, you can take them home until their surgery date. Then you’ll need to bring them back for spay or neuter and to finalize the adoption agreement. Chat with our front desk staff if you have questions.
Here’s what we still need:
- Patience. We want you here, we want to answer your questions, we want your help, we want these pets to go home with you. We have been flooded with all of the above. Our staff are working overtime, pulling 12-15 hour days right now. If you come in, please expect to wait and help us out by being nice about it.
- Monetary donations. All that overtime? It’s expensive, and it’s not in our budget. Our supply needs are being met but we are also struggling with some very real financial costs.
- Volunteers. We can use help throughout the day walking dogs, cleaning kennels, socializing cats, keeping up with laundry and dishes, and maintaining the cleanliness of spaces like our hallways and lobbies. We have an expedited onboarding process for those wishing to temporarily volunteer.
- More adoptions, please. Always 🙂