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BTAA says abandoned dogs' health improving

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | January 22, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Better Together Animal Alliance estimates that "Sugar," one of 18 husky-type dogs abandoned in the region, had less than a week to live when she was found.

While Sugar is getting better, she has a long way to go, BTAA officials said in a press release Friday. The other eight associated dogs being cared for at BTAA have reportedly made great strides since being brought to the shelter.

“We have a treatment plan, and everyone seems to be on the uphill swing,” Devin Laundrie, BTAA operations director, said. “This is with the exception of one dog. Sugar, who was the first dog we received. She is in stable condition, but will have a long road ahead of her. We believe she was a week to days away from dying, based on her condition when she arrived.” 

Sugar, like the eight others being cared for at BTAA, is being treated for lower gastrointestinal issues caused, in part, by parasites and bacteria, such as E. coli.

Altogether, BTAA is caring for nine of the dogs, with another three being cared for at the Kootenai Humane Society in Hayden. Additional dogs are being cared for at other regional animal shelters or in private homes.

The dogs, abandoned over the past few weeks in the Spirit Lake, Blanchard and Athol areas, are at the center of an animal neglect case being investigated by the Bonner County Sheriff's Office. A suspect has been identified, and BCSO officials said they expect to seek criminal charges after the investigation.

In addition to the 18 dogs being cared for at local shelters and private homes, BCSO officials said they have heard there may be additional dogs connected to the case. They ask anyone who has found a husky-type dog over the past few weeks to contact the sheriff's office so they can document where the animals were found, as well as their condition.

The animals will be left with those caring for them, but the information is needed as part of the case, BCSO Undersheriff Ror Lakewold 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.

With the dogs on the mend, Mandy Evans, BTAA executive director, said the facility is working to help any of the dogs being cared for by area residents. Due to the severity of the infection, it is vital that any dogs that may be part of this case be seen for medical treatment, she added.

“Sugar is a great example of why each of these dogs needs to be evaluated and treated,” Evans said, adding that the shelter expects to receive more dogs connected to the case — and that they will, most likely, need treatment.

“We are expecting to treat anywhere between 15-30 dogs in total, both at our facility and in homes throughout the community," she added. "We are urging anyone who may have one of these dogs at home to contact us or bring them in so they can receive the care they need. They are welcome to continue to keep the dogs at home, but they need to be evaluated for similar infections.” 

As the dogs improve in health, Evans said they will be moved to foster homes for about two weeks, complete with a care package of everything from donated leashes and collars by EzyDog to blankets and toys, as well as any necessary medical supplies. The dogs will continue receiving medical support and observation by BTAA’s medical team and may need ongoing care for some time. 

It is the community's generosity that is helping the shelter respond to the dogs' abandonment, Evans said. To date, more than 123 people have donated to BTAA's fundraising page on the online platform mightycause.com, raising more than $12,000 by Saturday evening.

“We are so humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support,” Evans said. “We are continuing to fundraise and ask for food donations, as we know there will be more dogs coming to us in need of care and supplies. If you haven’t already, please consider making a donation.” 

Information: Better Together Animal Alliance, bettertogetheranimalalliance.org, or mightycause.com/story/btaa

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(Photo courtesy BETTER TOGETHER ANIMAL ALLIANCE)

A Better Together Animal Alliance worker gives one of the nine husky-type dogs being cared for at its facility a bath. The dog was one of 18 dumped around the region, prompting an animal neglect investigation by the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

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(Photo courtesy BETTER TOGETHER ANIMAL ALLIANCE)

One of the husky-type dogs found abandoned throughout the region gets some love from a Better Together Animal Alliance worker.

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(Photo courtesy BETTER TOGETHER ANIMAL ALLIANCE)

One of the husky-type dogs found abandoned throughout the region gives the camera a curious look.

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