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Kari Lucin, Forum News Service, Published June 16 2013

Nine puppies rescued after attempt to bury them alive thwarted in western North Dakota

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – An attempt to bury nine puppies alive was thwarted Saturday at a construction site in western North Dakota when another person heard the dogs’ cries.

Local animal rescue operation Prairie Paws Rescue teamed up with other animal rescue organizations in North Dakota and Minnesota to help the black-and-white pups, all of whom survived.

“It was a long night last night, but they’re all okay,” said Becky Johnson, co-founder of Prairie Paws, who spent Saturday night caring for the pups.

First, they were brought to law enforcement in Tioga, and then brought to Minot. Another volunteer brought them to Harvey, where Johnson picked them up and brought them to Jamestown.

From there, the puppies were transported to Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue in St. Paul, Johnson said.

“We don’t have the volunteer resources that can bottle-feed nine puppies for four weeks,” she explained.

The identity of the owner who tried to kill the nine pups is known, and it is expected that charges will be brought against him, Johnson said.

Prairie Paws’ resources are somewhat stretched because the organization is also assisting the James River Humane Society with its Friday rescue of 28 dogs – a number likely to rise because one of the dogs was pregnant and ready to deliver as of Sunday evening.

Those dogs were rescued from a hoarding situation in New Rockford.

Johnson estimated that 100 dogs had been removed from the hoarder’s home over the years, generally at his own request and in groups of 10 to 20.

This time, however, law enforcement was involved – and that owner gave permission for rescuers to take all the remaining dogs.

Currently, they are being housed at the Humane Society, and while their health will be evaluated today it is already clear that many of the dogs will need medical care as well as neutering and spaying, Johnson said.

“They will all need shots. At least half of them will need to be treated for mange,” she said.

Mange, a condition resulting in grayish, itchy skin, can be treated with dips, medicated shampoo and shots – likely at a cost of $100 or more per dog.

Some of the dogs previously taken from this particular hoarder were also afflicted with mange but made a full recovery over time.

This time, the group of dogs includes one Chihuahua, one Pomeranian and one springer spaniel, as well as dachshunds ranging in age from the expected newborns to about 8 years old.

While the dogs are a bit skittish around people they don’t know, they have been socialized and are friendly once they get to know people, Johnson said.

“A lot of these dogs will be taken to other rescues,” Johnson explained. “Our community cannot take an influx of that many dogs of the same breed … we just don’t have the space or the means to be able to take them.”