After days of efforts, abandoned German shepherd taken to safety

This purebred German shepherd was recovered Thursday from 90 Road, where, animal control officers said, she was apparently abandoned.

It took patience, time — and Egg McMuffins — but a German shepherd that was possibly abandoned about a mile and a half up Highway 90 (90 Road) is now safe.

“She’s very thin, absolutely exhausted. She’s dehydrated, but otherwise, she seems to be healthy,” Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Deputy John Bennett said Thursday, about 30 minutes after he was able to gain the dog’s confidence enough to catch her.

“I think she needs a lot of rest and a lot of love. She’ll make somebody a fantastic dog.”

Bennett does not know the circumstances of the dog’s presence in the remote area — but the German shepherd wasn’t the only pet he found roaming on the plateau.

Bennett on Tuesday responded to calls about the German shepherd, which he spotted that day and began working to gain her trust. Wednesday, however, he spotted two other dogs, about half a mile up 90 Road. The dogs appeared to be a red shepherd-collie mix and a border collie mix. They were traveling together and exhibited the behaviors associated with abandoned dogs.

“It’s absolutely isolated up here. Where they were dumped at, there are no homes in the near area,” Bennett said.

“By the behavior, dogs that have been abandoned and dumped tend to basically stay in one area. They seemed to kind of circle around and stay in the same area. Based on their behavior, that’s what they were doing,” he added. These dogs appeared to Bennett to be in reasonable condition, although one was on the thin side (possibly due to its breed).

Bennett returned to the area Thursday morning, now searching for three dogs. He did not see the collie mixes and suspects they left the area, or that someone else contained them. Anyone with information about these two dogs should call dispatch at 970-249-9110.

As for the German shepherd, Bennett returned to the area day after day, working to gain her confidence. The winning recipe? Four Egg McMuffins, three cans of wet food and 12 to 14 hours of duty time.

“I finally got her to trust me enough,” Bennet said, as the dog barked softly in the background. She was taken to the Montrose Animal Shelter.

The German shepherd’s case and the two collie-mix’s case highlight how pets suffer if they are dumped. Abandoning a pet, or failing to provide it with food or care, is a crime, Bennett reminds the public.

“Whoever dumps an animal can potentially be facing a felony charge, depending on the circumstances. Based on the circumstances, you could be looking at a felony charge for doing so,” he said.

It is not true that domesticated pets can survive on their own, especially not with respect to dogs. Cats may be slightly more resilient, but an indoor cat that is dumped is “almost certain” to perish, Bennett said, and dogs rely completely on humans. Both abandoned cats and dogs fall prey to the elements, other animals, traffic, disease, injury, starvation, and, sometimes, malicious actions by humans.

“Regardless of the circumstance, it’s illegal to dump your pets. It’s illegal to leave them without food and water and care,” Bennett said.

Anyone with information about who may have dumped or possibly lost the German shepherd — or any pet animal — should contact dispatch.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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