Benny is one of nine puppies born at the Missoula Animal Shelter after his mother was seized in a Missoula-area cruelty case. Similar cases have been contributing to a full facility at the Missoula Animal Shelter.
“What ends up happening is the dogs are evidence so to speak and we can’t release them until the case has been adjudicated through the court,” said supervisor Jeff Darrah.
In addition to those, animals surrendered under noncruelty circumstances are also crowding the facility.
Darrah showed NBC Montana a chart with recent numbers. The shelter has taken in 15 dogs this week. They’ve only been able to adopt out seven. The facility normally holds 24 dogs. These days, they have between 26 and 28.
“Kennels get cleaned every day. Those animals get fed and watered twice a day. So, there’s that, but then it’s also just the fact that you never know what phone call is going to happen,” said Darrah.
Those calls are cold-related cruelty calls. None have resulted in seizures in this cold snap, but that could change.
“With the frigid temperatures that we have, we're getting a lot of calls from neighbors and people who are watching dogs that they don’t think are being taken care of,” said Darrah.
Crews responded to eight calls on Wednesday, and they responded to three more by around noon Thursday.
“I imagine that number will just kind of be steady while this cold front is in,” said Darrah. None of the calls so far have resulted in actual citations or criminal action.