Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Overcrowded house, overcrowded shelter

17 dogs taken from Hailey to already-full facility

Express Staff Writer

Four dogs wait to be adopted in one of the shelter’s communal pens on Friday. The dogs seized from a house in Hailey on Thursday were all small breeds, such as, from left, this 13-year-old pug, 5-year-old Pomeranian mix, 4-year-old Papillon and 4-year-old Chihuahua mix. Express photo by Katherine Wutz

A seizure of 17 dogs from an overcrowded house in Hailey has led to overcrowding at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, so the shelter is lowering its dog adoption fee to $50 for the month of September.

"We do not have a single cage free," said Nadia Novik, the shelter's director of operations and veterinary technician.

The Hailey Police Department followed an anonymous call on Thursday concerning 20 dogs living in a single home. Calls to the Hailey Police Department were not returned as of press time.

According to Novik, the woman who owned the dogs had acquired them from other shelters and from other people who were giving up their pets.

"The woman had a soft spot and wanted to help animals who were homeless, and she just took in too many," Novik said. "It's not an issue of cruelty, it's an issue of being overwhelmed."

The woman was allowed to keep three animals in her home, in accordance with city ordinance. The remaining 17 dogs were taken to the shelter, which then transferred six of the small dogs to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise, where they were adopted over the weekend.

Four of the animals were euthanized at the shelter. Novik said two were medically suffering and two were deemed aggressive and unsafe for placement in homes.

"While we do consider this a hoarding case, all the animals were reasonably cared for," said Jo-Ann Dixon, the shelter's medical director and executive director. "There was no evidence of neglect or intentional cruelty."


Dixon said the shelter in Croy Canyon has a capacity of about 45 dogs and is full to capacity now—so full, in fact, that managers had planned on reducing adoption fees even before the Hailey dogs came in.

Novik said Friday that with the current economic recession, all kinds of dogs, not just bigger ones, are going up for adoption. In addition to the Pomeranian mix adopted over the weekend from the Hailey group, a young corgi mix also found a home.

Five of the Hailey dogs are still available, all of which are smaller breeds that stand in contrast to the American Staffordshire terrier and other large mixes that fill most of the cages.

"It is unusual for us to have so many small breeds available," Dixon said.

The animals include a schnauzer-Yorkshire terrier mix, a purebred Papillon and a Chihuahua mix. The latter two are being offered together for one price, as shelter staff would prefer not to separate them. Some senior dogs, such as a 13-year-old pug and a gray dachshund, are also available.

Dog adoption fees are normally $100, though that fee has been reduced to $50 for September only. Shelter dogs come spayed or neutered, temperament tested, vaccinated, de-wormed, micro-chipped and licensed.

The shelter will also bring several dogs to an adoption event at Tully's Coffee in Ketchum on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 1-2:30 p.m.

For more information on availability or adoption, call the shelter at 788-4351, visit the website at or visit the shelter on Facebook.

Katherine Wutz:

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