Posted: Jan 8, 2013 10:24 AM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
Updated: Jan 8, 2013 10:24 AM
HELENA - It was a day of mixed emotions at Malamute Village on Monday as the first group of dogs were taken to be placed in permanent homes after former owner Mike Chilinski was convicted on 91 counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to jail time.
The dogs were finally ready to be adopted into new homes, 15 months after being rescued. The animals were released by a Boulder County judge right before Christmas, and now three dogs are being taken to Idaho to be adopted, and 12 to Washington. That leaves about 140 dogs still to be adopted.
"You know, it's frustrating to have to lead with all of the more challenging aspects of these dogs, because we look at them and they're just absolutely fabulous dogs, they've come so far, but at the same time, families are going to have some challenges, but foster homes through these rescues are equipped to take on challenged dogs," Lewis & Clark Humane Society director Gina West said.
She also says that the dogs will continue to be taken by rescue groups to be adopted throughout the region and state, and about 30 to 40 will remain in the Lewis & Clark area.
Bob Sutherland with the Alaskan Malamute Assistance League said, "The Lewis and Clark Humane Society has done a wonderful job of bringing those dogs up in terms of weight and so what were doing is were placing these dogs with our affiliates and they'll go into homes and they'll continue their growth. When dogs are poorly maintained, they'll have social issues and most of these dogs are shy, so we've been helping with that."
West says it may be difficult at first being separated from each other, because these dogs thrive on a pack mentality, but there is nothing more adaptable than a dog, she says.