With bellies still swollen from a lack of food, 35 dogs are on their way to recovery after being rescued Monday.
The dogs are currently housed at the Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski. On Monday night two Soldotna residents along with Tim Colbath and Sue Whipp, who run the non-profit sanctuary, and volunteers from the Domestic Animal Protection League of the Kenai Peninsula rescued the dogs on Knight Drive just outside of Soldotna city limits.
“They look so much better,” Whipp said on Wednesday. The dogs are becoming more active with proper nourishment.
The voluntary rescue took place from about 8-10 p.m. The dogs had been housed in a 10–by-20-foot room and most of the animals likely had never been outside, Colbath said.
The crew lined up kennels and loaded the dogs with little hassle and the owners were grateful for the help, Colbath said.
“They were doing the best they could,” Whipp said about the owners, who willingly surrendered the animals.
Krista Schooley and Tabitha Walker, both of Soldotna, found out about the situation that had been going on for years via a Facebook post and decided to do something about it. A few days after reading the post, they went to the house and talked to the owners, offering help.
“It took two people in the community who just cared enough to actually knock on their door and be human beings with a loving heart and not judging them for what they are doing, but saying, ‘Hey, here we are we want to help,’” Schooley said.
The duo called the sanctuary to help collect and provide a space for the rescued dogs.
Of the 35 dogs — primarily a mix of miniature huskies and border collies — nine are four weeks old, 11 are 1-week-old puppies and two of the dogs are pregnant.
While most of the dogs were hungry, they appear to be in good health and are social, Whipp said. However, one dog is special needs and is being cared for outside of the sanctuary.
In two days, the sanctuary has gone through two large bags of dog food to feed the rescued dogs. Colbath and Whipp are working to get the dogs bathed, de-wormed and to the veterinarian for check ups and to get spayed or neutered.
Within a month the sanctuary hopes to start adopting out the dogs.
Colbath and Whipp estimate the rescue will cost more than $15,000 with food, medications and spay and neutering costs.
Anyone who is interested in donating time or money to help the 35 rescued dogs can call the sanctuary at 907-776-3614 or post on the Knight Drive Dog Pack Rescue Effort Facebook group page.
“We really need help,” Whipp said.
Whipp said the sanctuary is aware of other hoarding situations and wants to be able to help, but needs animal control assistance. Alaska State Troopers, she said, don’t have the time or space to rescue this many dogs.
The rescue group will be at Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Kobuk Street at 7 p.m. today to talk about the rescue and the caretaking efforts with interested community members.