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Photo courtesy / Jackie Jensen, Prairie Paws Rescue These nine puppies were saved from being buried alive in western North Dakota.

Puppies rescued from being buried alive in western ND

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By Kari Lucin / Jamestown Sun An attempt to bury nine puppies alive Saturday at a construction site in western North?Dakota failed when another person heard the dogs’ cries.

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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 their experience.

“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, N.D., 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, which has more resources to help care for them than Prairie Paws does, Johnson said.

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

Most likely, rescuers will also look for surrogate moms for the pups. It will probably be eight weeks before they are ready to be adopted, but they are considered to be highly adoptable.

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, N.D. The JRHS received the initial call from law enforcement, and Prairie Paws was going to assist with evaluating the situation.

“When we got there, (we found that) it’s the hoarding case that Prairie Paws has been working on for two years,” Johnson said. “… they moved to 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 individually on Monday 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, is not contagious, and 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 — such as Lady Bird, another dachshund rescued in October 2011 — 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 a contingent of 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.”

Some, however, will stay in the region, and they will need foster families and lots of supplies — cleaning supplies, comfort items for dogs, rawhide chews, small collars and small leashes.

Donating money is best, because it can be put toward whatever is needed, and people can even sponsor a dog’s shots or a medicated dip.

Prepaid gas cards are also of great assistance to rescue operations, as transportation is a big expense for them.

Johnson’s overnight puppy-sitting adventure included the gas money required to get the nine pups from Harvey to Jamestown, along with the $50 of milk she fed them with.

And if only half of the dachshunds require care for mange, that will cost $1,400, plus the expenses for neutering or spaying all of them, along with any other medical care they need.

Anyone interested in donating may call the Humane Society at 252-0747. Money can also be donated online at www.jamesriverhumaneso ciety.org.

For more information about Prairie Paws, or to donate to the organization, visit prairiepawsrescue.com or call 320-4553.

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