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Hoarded Dogs From Cheyenne Getting New Homes, Happy Lives

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Less than a month after nearly 60 large dogs were rescued from a “hoarding” case in Cheyenne, the animals are getting a new lease on life — and some are getting new homes, as well.

Cheyenne Animal Shelter branding director Niki Harrison told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that life has continued to improve for the dogs who were brought in last month.

“I would say the majority, if not all of the dogs we had before the hoarding case happened have been adopted,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of foster-to-adopt situations where people took on some of the dogs as sponsors and just ended up falling in love.”

Harrison did not know how many dogs from the hoarding case had been adopted.

Last month, nearly 60 “giant” dogs, including St. Bernards, pitbulls and more, were discovered living in a what authorities described as a hoarding situation in south Cheyenne. The dogs’ owner did not live at the property with the animals.

Around 15 or 16 escaped one day in April after the high winds caused a fence to blow down.

Since the dogs were recovered, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter staff and volunteers have been working day and night to care for the animals. While all of the dogs were mostly healthy, many were filthy and required spaying or neutering surgery.

“In a typical hoarding situation, we have no idea what we’re coming into as far as the mental and physical conditions of these dogs,” Harrison said. “When they’ve been cooped up in a house for so long, there can be a lot of disease. There are all kinds of things that can happen.”

Some pet groomers and veterinarians in Cheyenne donated their time and services to the animal shelter to help the dogs.

Harrison noted that while all of the rescued dogs will need time to get better socialized, they are very sweet animals.

“I think overall, every single one of them is going to make a great companion,” she said. “They have some work as far as training and just need a little bit of patience.”

She added that the dogs will likely do best in homes where the owner already has a dog, one who is confident and can teach the rescued dogs about life in a typical household.

From now until Sunday, the animal shelter is hosting an “Empty the Shelters” promotion, in which all adult dogs are available for just a $25 fee. Adult cats and other animals, such as guinea pigs, are available at no cost.

Most of the dogs that are available for adoption at this time are from the hoarding case.

“When the dogs came in, we had more than 225 animals in the entire shelter,” Harrison said. “Now, we’re under the 200 mark, so we’re trying to get back to that calmer spot. Everyone here just needs a day or two of a break, but things have gone so much better than expected due to the help of the community.”

The rescued dogs remaining at the shelter on Wednesday and observed during a tour of the shelter’s kennels appeared to be in higher spirits than when they first arrived at the facility.

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Update: Cheyenne Animal Shelter Sees ‘Overwhelming’ Outpouring Of Support For Hoarded Dogs

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Photo by Ellen Fike
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

After being overwhelmed by the intake of nearly 60 “giant dogs” earlier this week, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter is beginning to get back to normal, according to its CEO.

Despite the Cheyenne Animal Shelter staffers being overwhelmed in a bad way at the beginning of the week with the intake of nearly 60 “giant” dogs, CEO Britney Tenant told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the tide has shifted.

Britney Tenant told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that people from Cheyenne and nearby communities have rallied together to help the animal shelter handle the large number of massive dogs brought in this week as the result of a hoarding case.

“We have been overwhelmed in the best possible way,” she said. “We were a little nervous at first when they came, because nationwide, we’re seeing overcrowding in shelters, particularly with large breed dogs. We already had a shelter of large breed dogs before these came in.”



By Friday, however, all of the shelter’s available foster dogs had gone to temporary homes and even one of the large dogs surrendered as part of the hoarding case had been adopted, Tenant said.

Tenant said multiple fund and supply drives have been organized to raise money for supplies by not only Cheyenne businesses, but even a bar in Gillette known as Pokey’s.

Tenant said that the hoarding situation was discovered after the wind blew over a fence at the property south of Cheyenne where the dogs lived, which allowed a number of them, around 15 or 16, to escape.

“They did run a horse through a fence when they got out, which required medical care,” she said. “So animal control began receiving a lot of calls about the situation, which led them to tracing the dogs back to the one residence.”

Tenant noted the owner of the dogs did not live on the same property as the dogs. Fifty-eight dogs have been recovered, but Tenant believed one might have still been at large as of Friday.



The owner of the dogs is believed to have acquired all of them within the last couple of years. Their ages have not all yet been determined, since there is only one veterinarian on staff at the shelter and some of the dogs are not ready to be touched by humans.

Tenant did note that the owner has had run-ins with Cheyenne’s Animal Control Division before.

“He has had some illegal wildlife, some sort of small wild cat, seized before, but has voluntarily surrendered them,” she said. “This particular set of offenses is a relatively recent development, though.”

Two of the dogs surrendered earlier this week have given birth to puppies, Tenant said, with one dog delivering three puppies and another requiring an emergency C-section in order to deliver nine living puppies.



Some breed-specific shelters have also offered to take in some of the large dogs, since Tenant said a few of the older ones will likely need extra love and care before being adopted out.

“Mostly, these dogs are going to be adopted into our community, which is great,” she said. “I think they’re perfectly safe dogs. They may be a little shy, but they’re going to be really grateful. Plus, we know they can live with other dogs. I call them ‘diplomatic.'”

As for the dozens of birds the shelter is also taking in from the hoarding situation, Tenant did not have much more information, as the birds were just coming into the shelter as of Friday morning.

“Once we know more, the community will know,” she said. “But I don’t know how many there are, what kind or much at all at this point.”



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Cheyenne Animal Shelter Stops Accepting Dogs Because It Is Full

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter has implemented a temporary wait list for people wishing to surrender their dogs because there is no space for the animals at the shelter.

Animal shelter CEO Britney Tennant told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that the shelter was down to a low of 29 dogs in the building in mid-December, and just one of those was available for adoption.

“So that was our low, and by Jan. 4, we reached a peak where we had 78 dogs in the shelter,” Tennant said. “My staff came to me and said that we basically have three or four kennels left. But we also have to be able to take in any stray animals or animals brought to us by Animal Control.”

On Tuesday, the shelter announced it would start putting people who wished to surrender their dogs on a wait list. Tennant believes the pause will end next week, as a social media post made about the wait list spurred action by some people.

Due to the social media post, five stray dogs were reunited with their owners and two were adopted. As of Thursday, 20 dogs were available for adoption at the shelter, with more waiting to pass medical and behavioral examinations or to be spayed or neutered to become eligible for adoption.

The process can take several days, since the shelter will also hold strays for three to five days to see if they have an owner who is looking for them, Tennant said

Some dogs will also be transferred to the shelter’s partners, such as one in Fort Collins, Colorado, she said.

Tennant said there is no way to determine the reason for the increase of dogs in the shelter, but noted that about a dozen dogs had come in after local police got involved in a case with an animal breeder.

She also noted that many of the adolescent dogs who have been surrendered have been accused of behavioral problems, but she chalked the problems up to people adopting a puppy when they were not prepared to take care of it as it grew up.

“We also see people who surrender dogs because they’re moving or have a change in lifestyle,” Tennant said. “And some people just aren’t prepared for the changes when a puppy goes from that to adolescence.”

While the animal shelter CEO thought all of the dogs at the shelter were lovable and great in their own ways, she named two as her top choices: Stella Rose, a Cane Corso mastiff-like dog, and Leila, a pitbull mix.

“Stella has this head-to-toe body wiggle and she has what we call a submissive grin, where she pulls her lips back and shows you her teeth while she wiggles. It cracks me up every time,” Tennant said. “Leila is a just soft, docile, sweet dog.”

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