HAINES (AP) -- A rescue kennel in Haines is faced with a big task -- trying to find homes for 20 malamutes.
The purebred dogs -- 12 adults and eight puppies -- were turned over to the Haines Animal Rescue Kennel by local kennel owner Randy McDonald who is preparing to move.
The puppies are spoken for but homes are still needed for most of the adult dogs. Some are a larger version of the malamute, called the Alaska giant malamute, which grows up to 150 pounds.
''This is an incredible opportunity for anyone who's ever wanted to own an Alaska giant malamute,'' HARK executive director Beckie Chapin said.
The dogs normally fetch $850 but HARK is selling them for $75 each.
Asked why he'd give such valuable animals away, McDonald said he's tired of paperwork, vet visits and hassles that come with selling purebred pups from his kennel.
''Shipping around the world, you spend all your time on the phone. As neat as the dogs are, I just got tired of dealing with people,'' he said.
McDonald said caring for the dogs also was taking too much time from his masonry business. And he said the new property he's planning to move to offers no protection for the dogs from wild animals.
''I'm not prepared to stand guard over them,'' he said.
Caring for the dogs is no easy task. Two HARK workers put in 12-hour days feeding, watering, grooming and cleaning up after them, Chapin said.
Volunteer Chuck Mitman said the dogs eat two 40-pound bags of dog food each day, costing around $40.
''This is a huge undertaking for us. There's just not enough of us to (deal with it),'' Chapin said.
Chapin is seeking volunteers to help take care of the dogs and donations of food or money. Freezer space also is needed for 5,000 pounds of chum salmon donated to the group. The salmon is in two 2,500-pound blocks, which take up 16 cubic feet of freezer space each.
Even if long-term adoption is not an option, HARK is hoping some families will provide short-term foster care. Families that don't have small children are preferred.
''They've never been exposed to little kids. We don't really know how socialized they are,'' Chapin said.
In addition to the $75 adoption fee, mandatory spaying or neutering at a cost of $100-$150 is required.
HARK is in contact with National Malamute Rescue in Washington, a group dedicated to the care and preservation of the breed. If the dogs aren't adopted locally, they may be turned over to the national group.
Anyone interested in adopting one of the dogs, donating money or helping with their care should call HARK at 766-3334.
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