April 9, 2018
In remote Carlton County in northern Minnesota, a little home sits atop a rolling prairie. A long driveway winds to the front of the house, which seems just like any other home in the area. But for years, no one knew that inside the home there were dozens of little Chihuahuas, living in extremely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
The 41 animals removed from the house ranged in age from six weeks to 10 years old and had never been outside the home. The couple who owned them told Animal Humane Society investigator Wade Hanson the situation “just got out of hand.” It started with two animals who were not spayed and neutered, which lead to puppies who grew up and had more litters.
“We tried to split the girls and the boys with baby gates and kennels, but it just didn’t work,” said the owner tearfully, as she handed over the dogs to AHS’s Critical Response Team. Like many of these cases, the couple didn’t have the resources to spay and neuter their animals.
Carlton County authorities and AHS investigators decided not to file charges because the couple didn’t mean to harm their pets — they just didn’t know what to do.
“The animals were well-fed and in decent condition. They have some minor health issues but some major behavior work will need to be done, especially when it comes to socialization and house training,” said Dr. Graham Brayshaw, AHS’s chief veterinarian.
Hanson believes that in many of these situations, the people involved love their pets; they just don’t have the resources to handle multiple animals and often suffer from mental illness. In this case, the couple was allowed to keep four Chihuahuas, who they agreed to sterilize. Hanson will also make periodic visits to check on the welfare of the remaining animals over the next year, ensuring the situation doesn’t happen again.
All 41 of the animals have received or are in the process of getting medical and behavioral care. It will cost AHS approximately $20,000 to get these animals the veterinary care they need (this total doesn't include the cost of food, puppy pads, and other basic needs).
Many of the Chihuahuas have been adopted already, while others will be ready over the next month. Please watch our Special Projects page to see when these dogs become available for adoption.
Many thanks to the wonderful donors of AHS who make this work possible, giving these little dogs a fresh start in loving homes.
Learn more about our Humane Investigations team and how to report suspected cases of animal cruelty or neglect.