The kennels at Ani-Care Animal Shelter were already full when Amanda Grosdidier took a call last week with a startling request.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Weiser asked if the shelter on Oregon Highway 201 south of Ontario could take 37 dogs, mostly Yorkies.
Amanda Grosdidier, one of the partners in the shelter, didn’t hesitate. She said yes.
Now, the shelter is overrun with dogs. The kennel was already full when the Idaho rescue came along on Friday.
Grosdidier and her helpers improvised, turning a vacant building intended for training into an instant indoor shelter. They put up fencing donated earlier and added an old couch.
Now, Ani-Care is struggling to care for the 64 dogs already at the shelter along with the new arrivals. The shelter put out an urgent plea Saturday afternoon for extension cords, surge protectors and 150 feet of water hoses.
Washington County Sheriff Matt Thomas told the Malheur Enterprise Saturday that his deputies responded after a relative of an elderly couple called police. Deputies went to a home outside Weiser and found deplorable conditions.
“The living conditions were very poor,” Thomas said. “The entire inside of the house was pretty much a kennel for all 37 dogs.”
Police seized the dogs because the home wasn’t healthy for them – or for people, Thomas said.
He recruited Ani-Care to take the dogs after the Idaho Humane Society said it couldn’t take the animals unless the owners gave up ownership. They wouldn’t do so, Thomas said.
He said he hopes the owners, whom he didn’t identify, will decide to relinquish the dogs. Otherwise, he said, he would seek a court order to take ownership.
Grosdidier said the dog count grew before she and her helpers could get the animals to the shelter. One dog gave birth to six puppies while at the vet clinic.
She said the dogs appear healthy but they’ve had little human contact outside their owners.
She is seeking volunteers to help tend to the animals. She said volunteers can show up at the shelter during its normal business hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The shelter is at 3616 Oregon Highway 201, between Ontario and Nyssa.
Ani-Care could use other help as well, Grosdidier said. She said money would be a big help. She said donations can be sent directly to Ani-Care or to Dog N Cat Wellness Clinic in Weiser.
The shelter could use donations of dog food, flea and tick medicine, blanks and dog beds.
Thomas said the sheriff’s office will paying the shelter $15 per dog per day.
The dogs aren’t available for adoption until the ownership issue is settled. Grosdidier said she wasn’t sure how long they would be at the shelter. Besides Yorkies, the rescue scooped up Scottish terriers, a Lab, a Chesapeake, and a coyote mix.