Charges Pending; 38 Sled Dogs Found Malnourished on Iron Range

By KBJR News 1

September 22, 2011 Updated Sep 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM CDT

HIBBING, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Criminal charges against an Iron Range woman are pending involving the maltreatment of nearly 40 huskies.

What started as a standard welfare investigation check turned into a case of animal maltreatment.

"We received information that a note was left in the mailbox, about the homeowner and dog owner starving and that her dogs were also starving," Lieutenant Timothy Harkonen of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said. "She couldn't afford to feed them."

When officials arrived at the home of the 59-year old woman they found 38 huskies chained up in the yard with no food or water.

Two of the dogs were in such desperate condition they had to be euthanized on the scene.

"There was numerous dogs, that were tied to posts, basically throughout all the property, up the driveway and behind the house,"Lt., Harkonen said.

The dogs are now in the care of the Range Regional Animal Rescue in Hibbing and are being medically examined. A veterinarian found each of the dogs to be dehydrated, anemic, underweight and suffering from malnutrition.

"Now we just start feeding them slowly because they are not used to having a lot of food, so we start slow with the rice and the dog food," Alyssa Garcia, the Animal Control Officer said. "We will eventually work up to just straight dog food so they can start putting their weight back on."

As the dogs de-stress and adjust to the shelters environment experts say their health continues to improve.

"They are going to need a lot of attention, some of them aren't really socialized, I mean they are okay with people, but they are really scared," Garcia said.

Pending charges in the criminal investigation the dogs may be up for adoption after ten days.

The St. Louis County Sheriff says anyone wishing to assist the Range Regional Animal Rescue with donations should call them at 262-1900.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch