Matanuska-Susitna Borough -- Working on three hours of sleep the new Animal Care Manager, Richard Stockdale is fielding non-stop calls and press interviews today. Stockdale and staff worked until 3:30 a.m. collecting 157 dehydrated and starving, mainly Alaska husky dogs from a breeder. The ages of the dogs ranged from several years old to a few days old. 19 were dead, 31 were puppies.
Neighbors reported the emaciated dogs, and Officer Erskine examined the animals Sunday. The dogs showed exaggerated signs of dehydration and nearly all the animals were at “level 1” on the body conditioning scale - all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
While the officer was getting the seizure warrant signed by a judge, other staff readied the shelter for the dogs. Temporary kennels were built, and puppies and adoptable dogs were shuffled around to make room indoors. Upon arrival at the breeder’s property everyone began releasing dogs and lifting them into the dog boxes on the trucks and into airline crates that were transported to the shelter in a horse trailer. “It’s a strange thing to grab what should be a 60-pound dog and find it’s really about 20 pounds of bones and skin,” said Officer Hardwig.
According to Dr. Katrina Zwolinski, the Borough’s veterinarian, half the dogs needed fluid therapy, either intravenously or by a saline injection under the skin. Additional medical needs included vaccinations for all, some required oral deworming medication, topical delousing medication, and basic blood work.
Alaskans from Anchorage to Fairbanks have reacted strongly by donating cash and materials.
Monetary donations may be deposited in a special fund at Wells Fargo, account # 9373598334, Mat-Su Shelter Advocates Fund. Immediate needs are: Hills Science Diet (available at Animal Food Warehouse) metal dog bowls, blankets & towels, materials to create dog houses (dry straw, tarps, zip ties, corrugated metal/fiberglass panels, plywood) or dog houses and animal airline crates. The Palmer Animal Food Warehouse has offered to collect money for food, they will be collecting until January 31.
Animal Care is closed today to take care of all these new dogs but the night drop room is always open if you want to drop off your donations. Our physical location is 9470 E. Chanlyut Circle – next to the central landfill on 49th State Street. Mailing address is Animal Care & Regulation, Attn: Richard Stockdale, 350 E. Dahlia Ave, Palmer, AK 99645