Press Release: 12/20/09

Melanie Epping (541) 589-1104
Harney County Save A Stray Rescue
POB 403, Burns, OR  97720.

Download this release:

news release in Word format News release in pdf format


Harney County Save A Stray Desperately needs help NOW!

Eastern Oregon dog hoarding situation with over 100 dogs in minus 15 degree weather with no shelter.  Over 70 rescued with another 50 still looking to be saved.

Burns, Oregon, December 20, 2009 – 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 last 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 drums filled with dogs that did not survive.

A rescue worker who preferred to remain anonymous noted, “I thought I had seen it all in previous cases but this one is by far the worst. So many living in small pens it is heartbreaking.  There is not nearly enough shelter for all of them.  We took some straw out yesterday so that they could have something to lay on besides the cold, wet ground.“

Some of the dogs are in pens, walking on carcasses and living in their own waste. Some are living on chains with a 50-gallon drum for shelter. Temperatures have dipped to 15 below with many of the dogs having no shelter at all.  Oregon Humane Society took as many dogs as they could manage, leaving approximately 70 puppies and dogs still on site, animals that will not survive if they are not captured and taken to safety.

Melanie Epping, founder of Harney County Save A Stray Rescue, is in Burns and working hard on the rescue effort.  “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. I am appealing to everyone else that can take any, even if it’s just a few.”

The current challenge is physically capturing the dogs and transporting on a large scale.  There has been great support from shelters and rescues in Washington, Idaho and even Northern California.  However, due to the down-turned economy, most of the smaller shelters and rescues are filled to capacity.  Coopers Boarding Kennels in Amity, Or. will be taking over 10 dogs and puppies to help.  Local Safeway manager Merle Reid had six pallets of dog food brought in and donated to the Harney County Save A Stray Rescue, which will use the food to help feed the remaining dogs.

Save A Stray is looking for volunteers to help capture, transport, foster, socialize, and adopt a dog.  Any help at this point is greatly appreciated.  Those interested may contact Melanie Epping at (541) 589-1104.  A new website has been developed with updates at:  Donations can be sent to:  HSCAS, POB 403, Burns, OR  97720.

Harney County Save A Stray is a newly formed, volunteer-run, private, non-profit rescue organization working to find homes for stray pets in the Harney County area.

# # #

Leave a Reply