Shelter officials say 35 rescued dogs were starving, inbred

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) — Shelter officials say 35 dogs rescued near Whitewood last week were starving and inbred.

“They’re skinny, they’re bloated with worms, they have diarrhea, they were fighting over food to survive,” Jennifer McCambridge, senior kennel tech at the Western Hills Humane Society in Spearfish, told the Rapid City Journal.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that 24 dogs were seized during a search Tuesday. But McCambridge said 35 dogs were taken before, during and after the main search, including animals that hid or ran away.

The dogs, including numerous dead ones, were found outside and inside a home, trailers and vehicles, Capt. Patrick Johnson said. He said a charging decision was pending.

“We want this guy to go to jail and stay in jail,” McCambridge said.

The dogs are of varying ages and mixes of redbone coonhounds and Rottweilers combined with some pit bull, McCambridge said. She said some have disfigured front paws, evidence they'd been breeding with each other. The main issue is rehabilitating their digestive systems, which aren't used to real dog food.

McCambridge said the dogs don’t know what to make of people yet, since they aren’t used to being around them, and aren't ready to be fostered, adopted or visited. The shelter is accepting donations for their care via its website.