Most dogs rescued from Sterling home now adopted

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- Most of the 66 dogs rescued in early November from a yard outside of Sterling have been adopted, according to Ethel Christensen, executive director of the Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

About 45 large Bouvier des Flandres, 14 Kerry blue terriers and a handful of Australian shepherd-and-husky-mix dogs were rescued from squalid, subzero conditions after the owner, Carolyn Boughton, relinquished ownership Nov. 8 under pressure from the Alaska State Troopers.

Boughton signed ownership of the dogs over to Nancy Wall of Sterling, a volunteer with the Alaska SPCA, based in Anchorage. Seventeen hours later, Wall signed them over to the Alaska SPCA.

Six Kerry blues, five Bouviers, three Australian shepherd-and-husky-mix pups and a ''rat'' terrier still need homes.

The adoptions are being handled through an application process, with animals given only to those who qualify. All of the dogs were spayed or neutered before adoption.

''We didn't want to take the chance that people would get a champion bloodline Bouvier or Kerry blue and think they could start breeding them,'' Wall said.

The Alaska SPCA rescue team found 43 dogs on the lot, many of them living in a broken down tour bus.

''They had to wear gas masks to go inside of it. The smell of feces and urine was so strong,'' Christensen said. ''Oh, God, you can't believe the mess. Their fur was frozen right down to their skin.

''I don't think they would have lived out the weekend. Two more nights and they would've been dead.''

The rescue team found 10 dead dogs and several dead cats on the property. The dogs died of starvation, dehydration and exposure.

About 20 more dogs were collected after the rescue from people who had obtained them from Michelle DeMilta, who took the dogs from the lot before the rescue team arrived.

After being processed in a warehouse rented to handle the dogs, the animals were checked out by a team of three veterinarians, then bathed and groomed by volunteers.

All of the dogs that were confined to the bus or in trailers needed eye medication. One Kerry blue needed to have an eye removed.

Christensen is calling for legislation to have statewide animal cruelty laws and a statewide humane control officer.

''We need people to contact their senator, representative, governor, attorney general, whoever, to get laws to stop these atrocities from ever happening again,'' she said.

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