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Eight starving dogs rescued in La Plata County

Animals recover at Humane Society; cruelty case being pursued against owner

Eight starving dogs on the brink of death made a full recovery at the La Plata County Humane Society after they were seized from a home in rural La Plata County.

“This was a clear case of abuse and severe neglect,” said Chris Nelson, director of animal services, in a news release.

If La Plata County Animal Protection officers had not intervened, the Labradors, Malamute and small mix-breed dog would have died within a matter of days, he said.

A concerned person reported the neglect, and after an initial investigation, Animal Protection officers gave the dogs’ owner a week to start feeding and caring for them. When their condition remained unchanged, they were removed from the home and taken the to Humane Society. They’ve spent the last six weeks recovering under the supervision of a veterinarian, Nelson said.

The animal cruelty case against the dogs’ owner is ongoing, he said.

All of the dogs have returned to a healthy weight, including Bella, a small black Lab mix who arrived at the shelter weighing 17 pounds and is now 45 pounds.

Sometimes, dogs that have been starved can develop food aggression. To help address that tendency, Humane Society workers have filled the dogs’ bowls whenever they were empty in recent weeks, a practice called free feeding, Nelson said in an interview.

The staff expects to transition them to twice-daily meals soon.

“They are all getting along with each other and others fairly well,” he said.

The dogs are ready for adoption. The Humane Society has already received a few applications, and Nelson plans to screen the applicants. He would prefer if the new owners had some experience working with dogs that have been in similar situations.

“I’m looking for someone who wants to provide the best living conditions, best life possible,” he said.


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