Montana shelter caring for 39 huskies found roaming wild

(Perry Backus/Ravalli Republic via AP)

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — An animal shelter is caring for 39 huskies found on a property in western Montana.

Bitter Root Humane Association operations manager Cyra Saltzman said the dogs, including two litters of puppies, were rounded up the Monday before Thanksgiving on land northeast of Hamilton.

Saltzman told the Ravalli Republic some of the dogs are more socialized while others were wild.

The shelter first learned of the huskies when a spay and neuter group called to report someone had dropped off a dog that needed its leg amputated because it appeared to have been shot. A second report came from a landowner reporting three dogs running free.

Eventually Saltzman and others found a property where a large number of huskies were running free. Saltzman said she could not talk about the dogs’ former owner.

Ravalli and Missoula county authorities helped trap the adult dogs and gather up the puppies, including one litter that was only a week old.

The puppies are in foster care and are not yet available for adoption, Saltzman said.

Due to space constraints, the adult huskies are being housed outdoors and up to four in a kennel. Saltzman said she has reached out to husky rescue organizations to see if they might be able to take some of the dogs.

The adults need to be spayed or neutered before they can be put up for adoption, Saltzman said, and the shelter does not have enough inside kennels for all the dogs to recover from surgery at the same time.

Some residents have been calling the shelter offering help and seeking to adopt dogs, Saltzman said.

“These dogs are not going to be the easiest to adopt out,” Saltzman said. “They are not a dog that’s going to just sit up on the couch and cuddle with you. If people are interested in adopting one, they need to take the time to do their research on the breed.”

Saltzman also cautioned that some need to become more comfortable around people.

In the meantime, the shelter could use dog food and additional volunteer help.

“It would be great to have people come in who are willing to sit in front of the kennels and just talk to the dogs,” she said.