LEWISTOWN — It all started in June of 2022, but transports still continue as Lewistown's "Saving Animals From Euthanasia" (SAFE) continue receiving receiving dogs that were at risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding at a Texas shelter.
SAFE director Peggy Butler said, "We post the pictures of the dogs, let people know what's available. What we try to do is get commitments from people prior to the dogs being transferred up here because we don't have a facility. We're a rescue, not a shelter, and we foster all of our animals out of our homes, so we have to know people are committed to taking these dogs when they come up on the transfer."
The Texas shelter reached out to 27 other rescues in the northwest. Butler said, "We were the only ones, initially, taking the dogs. Since then, other people have stepped up to the plate and helped out as well. We've done four different transfers throughout the last few months, and we've managed to bring home 34 dogs for them."
SAFE volunteer Mari Eastman said, "Because they were driven up there, they were extremely excited and nervous because they were riding in a car. They were kind of rambunctious, a lot of them. They all seem to be in good health."
Eastman elaborated on the fact that it's not uncommon to see the overflow of shelters:"It's very common. This is actually the first group that's come to us and we were the only ones that stepped up to the plate to take them."
As for the reasons for the Texas shelter being overcrowded, Peggy says one can only guess. "They don't even know the reasons they're so full. They just cannot understand why people are dumping dogs. These dogs are strays that are being picked up two to three times a day by their animal control people."
Despite the frustration as to why people abandon their dogs, Peggy said the number of adoptions provides hope.
"It makes all of this worthwhile when you can place an animal in what you feel is a good, forever home. Yes, it's discouraging that so many people are dumping animals for whatever reason, and of course, none of them are spayed or neutered. Most of them that we've gotten have all had puppies. This shelter right now has got seven female dogs that are all under the age of six weeks. They have 60 puppies, amongst the other dogs they need to place."
SAFE was formed in 2013 to provide sensible solutions to support the community's animals. Its mission is to ensure animals are given their best shot at a happy and healthy life, and preventing unnecessary euthanasia.
If you're interested in adopting a dog, you must fill out an application and go through a screening process. There will also be an adoption fee. For more information, call SAFE at 406-366-5905, or click here for the website.
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