The Larimer Humane Society’s Animal Protection and Control Agency is known for giving animals a second chance at life. But on July 25, during the agency’s largest rescue in three years, they gave a new meaning the term “lifesaver” when they rescued 63 Chihuahuas from a home in Larimer County.
Larimer Human Society Executive Director Judy Calhoun said the dogs were rescued from an informal breeder whose information they will not be releasing.
“The state licenses breeders under the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act as part of the Department of Agriculture,” Calhoun said. “The owner was not a licensed breeder, but had been trying to sell some of the dogs.”
Calhoun said informal breeding commonly creates problems for the person attempting to breed without the proper knowledge and training.
“Breeding takes a lot of effort, and doing it well is not as simple as a lot of people think,” Calhoun said. “If you try to fix the situation and get the animals spayed and neutered, you’re looking at a pretty costly bill at that point.”
Calhoun said informal breeding is dangerous when the owner doesn’t reach out for help, but in this case, the owner acknowledged that they were in over their head.
“The owner became overwhelmed and realized that they needed help and was wiling to surrender them,” Calhoun said.
The owner made initial contact with the Larimer County Sherriff’s Department on July 11, and the Sheriff’s Department contacted the Larimer Human Society shortly after. In coordination with an inspector from the Department of Agriculture, the Larimer Human Society organized and conducted the rescue.
“We took four vehicles and brought all of the dogs here,” Calhoun said. “Once they arrived here, it was a pretty impressive process. We set up two lines of tables in our garage area that we call the Behavioral Training Center and had staff and some of our volunteers from our Disaster Animal Response Team helping.”
The Larimer Humane Society completed an extensive examination of the dogs to ensure their health and happiness.
“We took photos, weighed all of them and got an I.D. band on them,” Calhoun said. “Then they were all given vaccines and scanned to make sure they didn’t have microchips, and then our veterinarian did a physical exam so that we had an idea of what medical services each of them will need.”
Calhoun said the veterinarian reported that the dogs had typical medical issues.
“What they mostly need are dentals and spay/neuter surgeries,” Calhoun said. “There are a few that will need more medical services. One dog has Cherry Eye, which is not uncommon. Our veterinarians do that
surgery with some frequency. The dentals are what will be the biggest challenge because they take time.”
Mentally, Calhoun said the dogs seem to be okay.
“They’re all a little scared right now, but I think that with some patience and a little bit of time, most of them will do pretty well,” Calhoun said.
Because of the dog’s physical and mental conditions and the owner’s corporation and willingness to surrender the dogs, Calhoun said no charges are being pressed against the owner, despite the fact that they were breeding without a license.
“Their weights are appropriate and none of them need major veterinary care,” Calhoun said. “The Department of Agriculture tries to work with the owner and if they are willing to surrender, that’s the best thing. It’s the best thing for the animals, the owner and certainly the community.”
Calhoun confirmed that this was the largest animal rescue the Larimer Human Society has conducted since a case involving rabbits during the 2013 flood. Due to large quantity of dogs that were rescued and limited amount of space at the Larimer Humane Society, multiple partner agencies are stepping up to assist.
Approximately 10 dogs will be transferred to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado
Springs, 15 dogs will be transferred to the Denver Dumb Friends League, 11 dogs will be transferred to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and the Denver Animal Shelter and Longmont Human Society will each take 6 dogs.
The Larimer Human Society asks people wishing to adopt one of the dogs to check for updates on their website in the coming days and weeks.
Collegian Arts and Culture Editor Randi Mattox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @randimattox.