Someone abandoned seven Doberman puppies in a crate in Stevens-Swan Humane Society's parking lot overnight on July 23. The animals were piled on top of each other, showing signs of neglect and possible abuse.
"They were definititely malnourished. They were very dirty. They had scarring on them. Some of them had some injuries from older wounds or things that had happened," said John Treen, an employee at the shelter. "Staff members had to give them multiple baths just to get the dirt and grime off of them, they were so dirty."
The abandonment leaves shelter officials without crucial answers. Were they all from one litter? A puppy mill? Why were all female dogs abandoned? How did they get the scratches on their faces and heads? The shelter posted about the abandoned animals on their Facebook page Tuesday night, including a picture of how they were found, all crowded in one crate. By Wednesday afternoon, the post had been shared more than 5000 times. Some of those people were waiting outside the Humane Society Wednesday morning, before they even opened.
"Looked like a very sad situation. My daughter and I have been looking for a dog, so, I'm here," said interested puppy parent, Tammy Rogers. Rogers is retired, and can put in the time to train the dog. "I can't imagine who would do that. But I'm thankful that they did bring them here, because you don't know what else could happen, but it's unbelieveable," added Rogers.
Shelter officials caution: it's going to be work.
"You're gonna need to do a lot of socialization. You're gonna need to housebreak these dogs; they're six months old, they're still not housebroken. You're going to need to leash train them. You're going to need to do basic obedience with these dogs. They're going to need the full work up as if you were getting the puppy at 12 weeks old," said Treen.
Wednesday morning, within minutes of the shelter opening, around 10 prospective adoptive parents visited with the dogs in the shelter lobby. The dogs went from person to person, in a room full of loose shelter cats, and seemed to enjoy the attention and affection. Shelter officials said they have very good dispositions and are eager, food-motivated learners. But being raised together has caused a pack mentality, and the dogs don't do well alone. One shelter worker said she couldn't leave the dog alone in a crate at her home, because the dog was trying so hard to break out of the crate, she was afraid the dog would harm herself. When left loose overnight in the homes of shelter employees, the dogs slept by their beds all night, without waking.
Joe Zielinski came to explore adopting one of the dogs. He already has a Doberman.
"Just wanted to come check them out. Kind of feel for them, coming from that unwanted environment," Zielinski said.
There is surveilliance video of the vehicle that dropped off the dogs. Shelter officials ask anyone with information leading to the dogs' owner or owners to contact them at 315.738.4357. Because the dogs were dropped off, it's hard to determine what, if any, crimes have been committed. Standard adoption fees apply: $120 per dog.