Burns dog hoarding case: one of the largest cases of animal neglect in state history

A suspected case of dog hoarding has turned into one of the largest cases of animal neglect in state history, the Oregon Humane Society said Tuesday.

The case involves about 100 dogs on a sprawling, desolate piece of property about 20 miles south of Burns, Oregon. It was brought to Sheriff Glerup’s attention by county social workers who were investigating an unrelated complaint against the owners of the dogs brought by an 11-year-old child living on the property. Officials have since removed all children from the property.

The dogs are living without shelter in icy conditions, surrounded by cattle bones gnawed clean. The dog owners, who live in trailers on the property, fed them carcasses from a local meat processing plant. “The whole property was scattered with the carcasses,” Lytle said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”  Also visible were the unburied remains of at least one deceased dog and several metal ‘burn barrels’ filled with dogs who did not survive.

A couple and another woman living on the property, Anita Anderson, 55, Ronald Anderson, 43 and Kathleen Goyogana, 34, were each arrested on five counts of animal neglect and released on their own recognizance.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup said all three agreed to release custody of the dogs, except for a few house dogs, and would cooperate with authorities to round the dogs up for transport to a shelter.  On Wednesday, Dec. 9, members of the Oregon Humane Society in Portland arrived in Harney County to help gather the dogs and take them to the shelter in Portland to be adopted out. On Friday, Dec. 11, Glerup reported they had gathered 79 dogs, but about 60 dogs still remained on the property.

“Most of these dogs, despite their living conditions, are friendly to people and want to be around us. I hope we can get them into loving homes in time for the holidays,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon.

The individuals charged with neglect surrendered ownership of the dogs to the county paving the way for rescue organizations them new homes. The past owners of the dogs will be permitted to keep a few dogs in their home as part of the agreement to surrender the remaining animals.  “One problem we have now though is all the shelters around the state are full,” Glerup said. He added that they are working with other organizations around the state to help care for the animals.

To help out with the situation, local Safeway manager Merle Reid had six pallets of dog food brought in and donated to the Harney County Save A Stray Program, which will use the food to help feed the remaining dogs. “Merle and Safeway really stepped up to help,” Glerup said.

SPCHS Board Member Melanie Epping, a founder of Save A Stray, is in Burns and working hard on the rescue effort.

“Here are some pics [see below] of just some of the dogs left behind after Oregon Humane came last week and rescued 79.  There are at least 60-70 more, lots of them are puppies and a lot of them are wild.  There are at least 15 adults that still need to be rescued, and some puppies that may need socialization. Some, as you can see, living in filthy pens walking on carcasses and living in their own waste. Some are living on chains with a 50 gallon drum for shelter. Last week it was 15 below zero here in Burns. Oregon Humane got all they had room for when they were here and have told me they can maybe take 5 more, so now I am appealing to everyone else that can take any, even if it’s just a few. The owner has told me any we can rescue will be adoptable. Lots of the males are already neutered…she has been doing that herself over the years! Most are aussie’s and aussie mixes, cattle dog mixes, border collie mixes a few hound mixes and one big pit bull that she calls a plott hound, and he is one of them that is chained.  Whatever is left we have been told will be killed, probably shot, even the puppies that can’t be caught.

I thought I had seen it all with the two previous cases over here but this one is by far the worst. So many living in small pens it is heartbreaking, there is not near enough shelter (if you can call it that) for all of them.  We took some straw out yesterday so that they could have something to lay on besides the cold, wet ground.

Save A Stray will be looking for people who would like to adopt a dog, and those interested may call Melanie Epping at 589-1104 or Angie Tiller at 573-1789.

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