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DOGS’ ABANDONMENT HAS LAW ON THE SCENT OF MISSING OWNER

DOGS’ ABANDONMENT HAS LAW ON THE SCENT OF MISSING OWNER

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Thursday, July 8, 2004
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard, Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: City Desk/Local
Page: 22A
Charges are pending against a woman suspected of leaving Colorado and abandoning 84 dogs in deplorable conditions at a home near Berthoud, Larimer County officials said.

Larimer County sheriff’s deputies are looking for Catherine Cariaso, 55, who they believe left the dogs and went to Texas. Charges of abandonment and animal cruelty are pending against Cariaso.

Officials from the Larimer Humane Society found 84 Labrador retrievers, many of them puppies, abandoned in a possible illegal breeding operation on Saturday.

Fifty-four of the dogs had to be put down because they were in such bad condition.

“They were medically so far gone that there was nothing we could do to help them,” said Cary Rentola, spokeswoman for the Larimer Humane Society.

Staff members, including three veterinarians, found most of the dogs confined in crates, most without food or water.

“It was one of the most heart-wrenching situations I’ve ever seen,” said Janis Cleland, one of the veterinarians who went to the home. “I have a lot of experience with animals, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Cleland said most of the dogs were emaciated. She said feces and urine covered the floors and walls of the crates.

Some of the dogs were left in a fenced area to run and breed freely.

Thirty dogs were taken to the Humane Society to be treated. Three puppies were approved for adoption and went home with new owners Saturday.

Rentola said it appears the dogs were being kept as part of a puppy-mill operation Cariaso is suspected of running.

“Many of these dogs had never seen the outside of a crate,” Rentola said.

Anyone interested in adopting or providing foster care for the dogs should contact Christine Samuelian at the Larimer Humane Society at 970-226-3647, Ext. 140.

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