Starving Huskies Seized In Massive Park County Rescue Operation

Sled Dogs Found Living In 'Deplorable' Conditions

About 100 Huskies, raised for sled racing but found starving and living in what has been described as "deplorable conditions," were rescued Thursday as part of a two-day around-the-clock operation.

Park County sheriff's investigators and representatives of the state veterinarian's office seized the dogs from a rural mountain property off County Road 53, south of Hartsel.

The sickest dogs were seized Wednesday and investigators returned Thursday to seize the remainder of the animals, said Park County Undersheriff Monte Gore.

As many as 90 Husky and Husky-mix dogs were underweight and not properly fed, Gore said. Eight of the dogs had died.

"I think anytime animals are put in a situation like this, it's heartbreaking. You can't save them all, but you do the best you can," said Sgt. Bobbie Priestly, with Park County's Animal Control.

A tip to the U.S. Humane Society led to the investigation and the seizure of dogs. The dogs will be be dispersed to various animal shelters for treatment and rehabilitation and will be put up for adoption.

The owner of the dogs faces animal cruelty charges. Animal control officers said they've been out to the property before and that the owner lives out of town. Sheriff's officials identified them as Sam and Diane Walker of Florissant, Colo.

Officers worry they'll see more cases like this, because of the economy.

"I think the economy has a large role in it especially with things as tight as they are for families these days," Priestly said.

People living in the small town say they would've helped if the owner asked.

"We're a community that loves animals. We love all of our animals -- cats, dogs horses, cows, whatever. We'll help in anyway that we can, but we need to know of the problem," said Susie Jones, a Hartsel resident.

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