Truckee shelter takes in destitute dogs
Desolate surroundings, frigid temperatures and inadequate shelters ” these were the conditions nearly 150 dogs survived on a ranch in Nevada before being rescued by animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.
“When we arrived at the ranch, it was a sight to behold,” said Nanette Cronk, program manager for the Truckee animal shelter. “The conditions these dogs were living in were far less than adequate.”
Despite overcrowded conditions at it’s shelter, the local Humane Society was able to rescue six dogs from the ranch in Gabbs, Nev., a small town about 120 miles southeast of Yerington, Nev.
Dama Wirries, 58, housed the dogs on her property until May 2007 when she died of a heart attack, leaving the animals stranded.
Since then, animal rescue organizations have been looking for homes or shelters for the stray pets, said Liz Finch, animal help manager with Best Friends Animal Society.
Wirries used to do animal rescue work in Idaho, but relocated to Gabbs, Nev. around 2001 with over 70 dogs. Since that time, the population at Wirries’ ranch doubled, Finch said.
“This was definitely a case of hoarding,” Finch said. “Sometimes rescuers start off with good intentions, but when they become unwilling to give up their animals because they believe the animals could never be happy or well-cared for by anyone else, they’ve crossed the line.”
Fortunately, rescue efforts have since helped organize homes or shelters for all of the dogs found at the ranch with the exception of one hound who did not survive the conditions, Finch said.
Among the six dogs taken in by the local shelter, four have been adopted, and shelter staff are working to re-socialize the remaining strays, Executive Director Stephanie Hiemstra said.
“Their resilience and ability to forgive is remarkable,” Hiemstra said. “After living in excruciating conditions, with little or no human contact, it would have been perfectly understandable for them to never accept people, but their desire for love was more powerful than their fear.”
“They are finding permanent homes where they will go on living the way a dog should ” enjoying life to the fullest,” she said.