By Jim Schroeder
As Michelle Bibeau and her husband, Tony, were unloading some yard trimmings Sunday night at the Fresno dump, she heard the faint sound of puppies crying.
Michelle listened closer and realized that the whimpers were coming from the bottom of a trash bin filled with garbage.
Michelle started digging through the trash and found a white plastic grocery bag at the bottom of the bin with something moving inside.
Michelle opened the bag and found four newborn puppies with their umbilical cords still bloody and wet and six newborn black kittens that had already been licked clean.
Michelle thought about her two cats at home, Butterscotch and Oreo and asked herself, "How could anybody do such a thing?"
Michelle took them to the Hill County Sheriff's Office, hoping someone could take care of them.
That's when Samantha Dixon walked in with a question for the dispatcher and saw the newborns in a cardboard box next to Michelle. Before long, the animals were under a incubation light and being pampered and bottle fed in regular increments by Samantha's caring hands.
One of the puppies died that night. Samantha has been busy bottle feeding the rest throughout the days and nights besides giving attention to her other animals. She has a German shepherd, three chickens, three ducks, three rabbits and a horse at her home near Highland Park.
Samantha wants the newborn pups and kittens to go to caring households. She is asking the Havre animal shelter to place them with new owners because of the shelter staff's strict screening policy. In the meantime, she'll continue to care for them.
Animals are found at the county garbage dumps about once or twice a year, said Havre animal control officer Gordon Inabnit.
"Spaying and neutering is the best so you don't have that situation," he said. "If you have them fixed they're not going to have any pups. And once the puppies or kittens are born. there's other alternatives like surrendering them to the animal shelter."
Hill County Sheriff Greg Szudera said he is going to have someone check into the incident.
The first conviction for cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor and a second conviction is a felony, Inabnit said.