AGNEW — After a dog owner died nearly two weeks ago, all 29 of her Australian Shepherd-Border Collies were left wandering around her rural Gunn Road property.
It took a week for Tracy Kellas, Clallam County animal control officer, and members of Welfare for Animals Guild of Sequim to trap and round up the scared canines, Brian King, Clallam County chief criminal deputy, said Friday.
Now the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society has issued a call for $3,000 in donations for help caring for 14 of the dogs, an influx that has pushed the Old Olympic Highway no-kill shelter to capacity, Executive Director Luanne Hinkle said Friday.
“She was deceased, and that’s why we stepped in trying to help the family,” Hinkle said.
Eleven of the animals are being cared for by WAG, while the remaining four are with Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene, Hinkle said.
Most of the animals appeared to be adults, but some dogs that WAG took were younger than 1 year old, maybe 6 months old, she said.
The animals were left alone on the property after Virginia J. Wilton died May 15, King said.
Wilton died of natural causes two days after her 69th birthday, according to the death notice in Peninsula Daily News.
Family members could not be reached for comment Friday.
According to the American Kennel Club, a Border Collie is a working-herding dog, and an Australian Shepherd is a ranch dog.
They were found throughout Wilton’s property in the 100 block of Gunn Road, a 5-acre parcel with a 1,400-square-foot mobile home, according to county records.
“They were all extremely fearful and skittish,” Hinkle said. “Obviously, they had been fed.
“They did not show any severe malnutrition, but they probably had been outside and not been fed with good food. Many had skin conditions. We treated them for fleas and worm and mites, and we groomed them.”
Hinkle said the animals will be spayed and neutered.
None of the dogs are socialized enough to be adopted yet, although they are not aggressive, Hinkle said.
“They are very hard to handle,” she added. “In terms of people wanting to adopt them, they are not ready, and I don’t know when they are going to be ready.”
A female that was found on the property appeared to have had several litters, Hinkle said.
“Most of these dogs are not very young, so I think it was maybe that [Wilton] bred them at some point in time, but I don’t think it was currently happening,” Hinkle said.
“That’s my estimate. Of course, I don’t know because this poor lady passed.”
King said he was not aware of any widespread health issues among the animals.
“That’s a lot of dogs to care for, not easy to manage.”
To donate to Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, visit ophumanesociety.org.
To donate to WAG, visit wasequimwa.com.
To donate to CVAR, visit centervalleyanimalrescue.org.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].