Posted on: March 18, 2022 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0

It started with a call to Mountain Humane on Saturday evening from Friends Furever Animal Rescue in southern Idaho.

Mountain Humane Transfer Coordinator Megan McCauley picked up the phone. Ashley Stroebel-Haft, an organizer with Friends Furever—one of Mountain Humane’s several transfer partners—had one question: Would the shelter be able to take in 50-plus dogs living in a hoarding situation on a dairy farm in Jerome?

McCauley checked in with Kelly Mitchell, Mountain Humane’s senior director of animal operations and outreach, who immediately dispatched two cargo vans. McCauley and Vet Tech Christina Perea quickly loaded up both vans with crates and headed down to the dairy farm, bumping along a dirt road as the sun set. 

On scene, Perea and McCauley found 72 dogs—mostly Chihuahua mixes—fenced in a small yard area on the back side of a trailer.

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Vet tech Megan Augher comforts a dog ahead of a routine spay procedure.

“It was out in the middle of nowhere on a dairy. We got there in the dark. Mayhem broke out all around us—the dogs were going nuts,” McCauley said. Perea, McCauley, Stroebel-Haft and Mary Holley of Jerome’s Anything’s Pawsible joined the owners to put dogs in crates. One of the owners was in tears, McCauley said. 

Mitchell explained that the dogs’ owners, a dairy farm worker and their spouse, had been told by the dairy owner that they would be evicted if they didn’t get rid of their dogs immediately.

“The owner told them ‘either they go or you go’—it was a tough situation,” Mitchell said.

McCauley said she was grateful to find the dogs in relatively good condition.

“You can tell they were fed O.K., were healthy, just under-socialized,” she said. “We’ve got to be fair to this family.”

McCauley and Perea agreed that upon arrival, it was clear Mountain Humane was the only organization large enough to transport, house and care for the dogs.

That night, 52 were loaded into the vans, arriving at the Mountain Humane facility around 11 p.m. By midnight, they were safe in their kennels, surrounded by plush blankets and toys.

On Sunday morning, Dr. Jack Amen and other volunteers came in to begin wellness checks on the dogs, spaying and neutering them and getting them up-to-date on their vaccines. Amen was still at it Wednesday afternoon, when some 40 dogs were in line for processing: sedation, surgery, vaccination, microchipping, repeat.

“I think one unique thing about Mountain Humane is our ability to answer a hoarding call like this one on a Saturday night—not [only] with our capacity, but with our staff and vet team willing to come in on a Sunday,” Heidi Hayes, Mountain Humane marketing manager, told the Express.

Hayes said all 52 dogs will be examined by Amen, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated by Friday. The total cost will run about $12,000, according to Mitchell.

Ten of the Chihuahua-mix dogs are now available for adoption, seven of which were already listed on its website as of Thursday.

The remaining 42 will be transferred to other rescues around the state of Idaho, including Broken Hearts Rescue in Twin Falls, Idaho Humane Society in Boise and Heart of Idaho in Challis. (The mother dogs and their puppies at the dairy farm were sent to foster-care homes, Mitchell said, and Mountain Humane plans to trap a number of remaining dogs and several cats on the property.)

Anyone interested in helping with the expenses incurred by the weekend rescue can donate to the Rocky’s Medical Fund by visiting Mountain Humane’s website at

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Dr. Jack Amen, left, and volunteer vet tech Scott Porter begin a neuter procedure at the shelter’s Medical Center.

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On Wednesday, Mountain Humane staff began to name the evicted dogs after cheeses to honor their dairy-farm roots: Quark, Halloumi, Gouda, Parm, and Asiago, to name a few. Here, Brie rests on a blanket with a couple onlookers.

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Bleu keeps alert.

The rescues range in age from one week old to adults, said Kelly Mitchell, Senior Director of Animal Operations and Outreach.

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Cheeses, foreground; Cheddar, background.

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From left: Megan McCauley, Christina Perea and Michael Bosse.

Video courtesy of Mountain Humane.