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Fundraiser launched to help abandoned dogs

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | January 19, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — A campaign has been launched to raise funds to help 18 husky-type dogs found abandoned at several locations as a Bonner County Sheriff's Office investigation into their abandonment continues.

A suspect has been identified in the case and BCSO officials said they expect to seek criminal charges after the investigation is completed, BCSO Undersheriff Ror Lakewold said in a Wednesday press release.

While dogs taken to shelters in the region, as well as those being cared for by private individuals, have been documented, BCSO officials said they need to know about other dogs connected to the case.

"For investigative and potential prosecutorial reasons, it is imperative that we be made aware of any other dogs of this nature that have been located and may be being cared for by citizens," Lakewold said.

Dogs taken to local shelters, as well as those being cared for by private citizens, have been documented regarding where they were found and their conditions. However, the sheriff's office needs to document any other dogs, Lakewold said.

"We are not seizing the dogs; however, we do need to photograph the dogs and document contact information for whoever is caring for the dogs," he said.

The sheriff's office is asking anyone who may have found a husky-type dog, but has not yet reported it to BCSO, to contact the county's dispatch center. They also want anyone who may have witnessed a person or vehicle “dumping” the dogs to contact Bonner County Dispatch at 208-265-5525.

The sheriff's office directed those wishing to help the animal to contact the Better Together Animal Alliance, which is spearheading care for the dogs. The shelter launched an online fundraising campaign on mightycause.com on Tuesday to raise the funds needed to care for what is expected to be long-term care for the dogs.

In less than 24 hours, the online fundraiser had raised $5,850 of its $10,000 goal with 10 days left to go in the campaign. Thanks to two local families, BTAA executive director Mandy Evans said all donations up to $10,000 are being matched.

All donations are tax-deductible and will be used to help "dogs who need it most," Evans said on the alliance's fundraising page on mightcause.com.

BTAA is partnering with the sheriff's office with providing care to the dogs, which are requiring emergency shelter, lifesaving veterinary care, food and ongoing support, Evans said.

The dogs are being treated for gastrointestinal issues and parasites and need vaccines and spay and neuter services. The shelter is also providing food and other related services to ensure the dogs receive the care they need, BTAA officials said.

The dogs were found abandoned in at least three locations — Spirit Lake, Blanchard and Athol — with many of them in visibly poor condition.

Some of the dogs are now being cared for by private individuals while others have been taken to the Pend Oreille County, Wash., animal shelter, the Kootenai Humane Society in Hayden and Better Together Animal Alliance in Ponderay.

Those wishing to donate food, of which the shelter is in urgent need, can drop it off at food-donation bins located at Yoke's, Super 1, Petco and North 40. Donations can also be made online via the animal alliance's Chewy wishlist at bit.ly/btaawishlist and shipped to the Ponderay facility.

To donate to the online fundraiser, go online to mightycause.com/story/btaa.

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