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By Pam Burke 

Paws getting, looking for, help in major dog rescue

Dozens of dogs rescued from Blaine County site


Last updated 8/29/2022 at 11:21am

Havre Daily News/Pam Burke

Mariah Racine of Dutton pets Mama Cass at Paws of Chinook Sunday during an open house to show dozens of dogs that have been rescued, so far, from a location in western Blaine County.

PAWS of Chinook was asked last week by Blaine County Sheriff's Office to assist with rescue of an unknown number of dogs at a residence in western Blaine County.

Alissa Hewitt, director and president at PAWS who is leading the effort, said they have rescued 31 dogs of varying ages, including six puppies still nursing. All but two border collies are of mixed breeding so far. They know of at least five more that still have to be trapped.

All of the dogs seem to be nice, with some very friendly dogs in the mix, she added, but several are skittish around people because they haven't had any human interaction and have had to fend for themselves.

Neither the owner of the property or the dogs' owner were living on the property but the dogs' owner was bringing food and water to the dogs, so no criminal charges will be filed other than a few citations, such as for a dog that was shut in a building that didn't have access to water.

Hewitt said several people have helped catch the dogs. The first day, she said, they didn't know how many they would find there, so they just grabbed every dog they could get a hold of, called a friend of the shelter to bring a horse trailer, and as they loaded the dogs in the trailer, each dog got flea sprayed and dewormed. Later Dr. Tari Mord of Eastside Animal Hospital came to the shelter with some of her crew and all the dogs got their first round of shots and initial health assessments.

After the first few days, the remaining dogs have proved to be more clever than the humans, Hewitt said, even teaming up with one using its body to block the door of the live trap open so another could get into the trap to get the food bait. Some traps have had to be modified with different triggers. But they try to make headway every day, she added.

People with Beaverhead Animal Shelter are coming to Chinook today to take some back dogs to Dillon to take some of the strain off PAWS, Hewitt said. She didn't know how many they would be able to take with them, but anything would help since the Chinook facility only has five kennels and two dog runs with 38 dogs and puppies onsite.

Luckily, all the dogs are used to being around each other so they've been able to house them in the large run together, except the mother and pups who got one of the kennels.

Right now, Hewitt said, while they work to get the last of the dogs caught, they are also working out a plan to get medical attention for those with old injuries to address any treatment. A handful of dogs at the facility are limping from old injuries and two dogs are each missing a foot.

The response from the public, Hewitt said, has been overwhelming. She's used to going to the post office to collect bills and rejection letters, but people have already been sending donations for their care, and every day people drop off food and supplies.

PAWS will need every bit of it and more to get through this, she added, as well as help from people to come spend time with the dogs to let them know that people are good.

Havre Daily News/Pam Burke

A young dog caught Sunday looks out of a pen at PAWS of Chinook during an open house at the animal shelter held that day.

A few puppies were spoken for during an open house over the weekend, she said, but there are plenty of dogs and puppies that are ready to find a good home.


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