Need ideas for saving puppies

A female Rottweiler/hound looking dog had 9 puppies under my shed Jan 1st. The puppies’ sires are a mix of wolf hybrid/Shar-pei, Chow/Akita and hound/Catahoula that I know of. The puppies are too mixed for any of the above breed rescues to help me. All of the humane associations would not be willing to release the ones that don’t find homes back to me instead of euthanising them. I am not strong enough to have held these puppies and still entertain this option. I do not want to just go sit outside wal-mart and give these pups away, possibly to a fate worse then euthanasia. It’s been three weeks since I started feeding her and now the pups need food too. It’s getting desperate, financially. Does anyone have any happy endings with situations like this?

Look for a “no kill” shelter. The one in my area is called “Citizens for Animal Protection”. Be prepared to make a generous donation!

You can go to Petfinder to find a local no-kill shelter or even put up an ad.

Good luck.

It is very unlikely that puppies won’t be adopted. Everyone wants puppies; it’s the older animals that get ignored.

If the shelter won’t release them to you if they are not adopted, you can adopt them yourself, although this could cost you a lot of money in adoption fees. You could always not take all of them in at once and once the ones you do take in are adopted, take some more in. Note that the older they get, the more difficult it is to adopt them.

I don’t know where you are but search on Petfinder for all the shelters in your area. You might be surprised at how many there are. Here in MA, many many people tell me they thought the only shelters were the two large kill shelters (the ARL and the MSPCA) and are shocked to find out there are probably 200 no-kill rescue/adoption groups in MA. It might be the same in your area.

Do not give them away outside of Wal-Mart to any random stranger who walks by. They are better off being put to sleep.

Where are you located?

MissBunny, it’s not true that puppies are likely to be adopted: in many regions of the country, hundreds of thousands of puppies are euthanized every year because there’s just so damn many of them.

Advice from a humane society professional:

  • Make sure any “No-kill” shelter you take them to is limited-access, meaning they only take in as many animals as they have room for. No-kill shelters that don’t turn animals away practice some of the most horrifying animal cruelty you can imagine. Let me know if you want some disturbing links.
  • If you put an ad in the paper for them to be adopted, I highly recommend you charge a fee for them; you can use this fee to get them spayed or neutered. This makes sure they don’t go on to cause a similar problem in the future, and it ensures they won’t go to people looking for bait animals for dogfighting, or to people who haven’t realized that owning an animal is expensive.
  • The single best thing you can do is to get mama dog spayed. Otherwise, she’s going to have a litter or two every single year, and if it’s hard for you to deal with just nine, imagine dealing with nine every year for the next half-dozen years.


I don’t think mama dog is her mama dog.

Also, it’s kind of a pet peeve (heh) to have the world of shelters divided into “no-kill” and “kill.” Of everything our animal shelter does, euthanizing animals is far and away the most painful, and the thing that we want to be doing the least: our work adopting animals, educating children, offering spay/neuter assistance, sheltering homeless animals, and returning lost animals to their families is the reason we’re around.

If you need to make the distinction, make the distinction between limited access shelters (the kind that closes its doors to animals that aren’t easily adoptable, or that closes its doors when all the cages are full) and open access shelters (the kind whose doors are never closed to any animal, no matter how sick, aggressive, timid, or old it is, and no matter how busy the shelter is). While it’s true that open-access shelters are forced to euthanize animals, that’s not why we’re open-access: we’re open access so that no animals are left out to starve on the streets or worse.


I know that, but it sounds as if the mama in this case is a stray. If she’s owned by someone else, the puppies are also their responsibility. And if she’s not, then getting the mama dog spayed is still the single kindest action she can take in this circumstance: otherwise, even if she saves these nine puppies, there are going to be dozens upon dozens more puppies she’ll have to deal with (or not) in the future.


I will second all that LHoD has said. Daniel knows what he is talking about. Also, I would not mention the wolf-hybrid geneology. In some areas this will affect their outcome. For example, I do not see wolf hybrids due to liabiliy concerns over the lack of a rabies vaccine labled for use in wolf hybrids.

Thank you everyone. Some more info:
The momma dog is not mine! She was my neighbors. I have been refusing to feed her for almost a year, chasing her away from our dogs food. Then she goes and has her puppies under our shed and is just skin and bones. Her owners respond with “What dog” like they think I am an idiot. After chasing her away and yet she still feels more comfortable here than at her own home, I wont turn her away again. I am looking for her a home as well.
I posted them all on pet finder but I don’t have much faith invested there as it is set up like free classified adds. Hundreds are posted each day.
Here are the associations I’ve called in the last week. They all say the same thing. First off, the puppies are only 4 weeks and they euthanize anything under 6 weeks immediately. Also if I do not live in their county they won’t even take the dogs. Finally, every single person I talked to, supervisors in some cases, say there will be no exceptions. If I surrender these dogs, 8 out of 10 will be put to sleep. Out of all of these The Nacogdoches Animal Services and Adoption Center was the most helpful, offering to use their humane society status to put the puppies in a more visible part of Pet Finder.
TX Athens Henderson County Humane Society 903-677-7387
TX Lufkin Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter 936-633-0218
TX Lufkin Rotts Across Texas Rottweiler Rescue 936-639-5738
TX Lufkin East Texas Paws Rescue 936-824-2679
TX Lufkin Humane Society of Angelina County 936-639-1880
TX Nacogdoches Nacogdoches Animal Services and Adoption Center 936-560-5011
TX Tyler Humane Society of Smith County 903-597-2471
TX Tyler East Texas Animal Rescue Fund
TX Tyler P.A.W.S. Around The Planet (903)882-7387
TX Tyler Tonya Griffith’s Animal Rescue, Inc. (903) 533-1282
TX Tyler A.P.E.T SPCA 903 569-1719
TX Willis Animals 1st 936-228-0434
I also contacted the breed associated rescues in Texas. These pups are to mixed for any of then to get involved with. Rotts Across Texas basically told me to drown them, but they would ‘let’ me put the momma dog (which looks most like a Rot) on their web site if I would have her spayed.
I have them listed in the paper, and several free papers like The Peddler, with a $60 adoption fee that will be refunded with proof of spay or neuter. Haven’t gotten any calls, but it’s just been 8 days. I was hoping for some amazing secret that I didn’t know about but I don’t guess there is much else that can be done. Crap.

My local Humane Society will give you food if you can’t afford it.

They also offer partial or full sponsorships and coupons for neutering. The local vet school also offers low-price options.

Good luck!

It’s a rough situation, Mme–like I said, there’s just too damn many puppies out there. If the humane societies seem unfeeling to you, please understand that they’re likely overwhelmed and very stressed at the tremendous numbers of animals coming in their doors every day, and they’re probably also pretty defensive. When you love animals, and when you work somewhere that 50 animals a day have to be euthanized due to lack of space, and when half the people bringing animals in treat you like the enemy for not giving their animals preferential treatment, your nerves can fray pretty quickly. What you’re dealing with is very painful–but it’s what they have to deal with several times a day. And if they give the puppies you bring in preferential treatment, they’ll have to choose other puppies to euthanize to make room for yours. And if yours cost extra to take care of (and, being four weeks old, they’ll cost extra, in terms of staff time if nothing else), that’s money taken out of their budget that they could have used to save even more animals, meaning they’ll have to euthanize even more animals.

That’s why they won’t make exceptions. It’s not that they’re coldhearted: it’s that they’re working in the middle of an overpopulation crisis, and they see the exceptions you’re asking them to make from the perspective of how many other puppies will be sacrificed to make those exceptions.

Vetbridge raises a good point about not mentioning the wolf hybrid thing up-front (especially if it’s not prominent in their makeup, as it sounds). However, I’ve got a question, vetbridge: several years ago, we had to euthanize a wolf hybrid that came to our shelter because there was some (pretty flimsy*) evidence that it may have bitten someone, and North Carolina doesn’t recognize a rabies vaccine for wolves. However, in the course of researching the issue, I came across a pretty compelling argument that canis lupus is a species that includes both domestic dogs and wolves (nonauthoritative cite). Have you encountered this argument, and if so, do you find it convincing?


  • And when I say flimsy, I mean that the bite victim came in and looked at it, and said, “that’s not the one that bit me.”

It’s kind of a long shot, but try calling local veterinarians. They might be able to put you in touch with someone willing to foster the pups and care for the mom dog until they can be re-homed. I worked in a veterinary hospital and the staff there was pretty soft-hearted about fostering critters. Good luck!

Mdm. President - I don’t have much, but I could certainly send you enough money to feed a mama dog for a few weeks until the puppies can go to the shelter. It’s not the best solution, but it’ll give you time to work something out. Can I Paypal you $20?


my state bar association has an animal law committee. i figured texas would too.
all of the animal law committees are run differently, but our listserv allows pleas for assistance to appear on the list. contact the officers and council members individually and ask for help.

i would make prominent mention of what rotts across texas advised you to do.

A little good news. Lufkin East Texas Paws Rescue 936-824-2679 got back to me and said they would try to help with food and shots, and if I still have some in 6 months, ‘fixing’ them. The poor lady runs the thing out of her home… I hope the situation isn’t like LHD mentioned. I’ll go check it out when I get the chance.
I don’t blame the h.s. for their attitude at all. I’ve been in there before and they were getting all sorts of hell from some trashy family. I looked at my SO “This is why they are always so short”. What I have a problem with is that they refuse to help me help them. I was aware of the pups age being a problem and was more than willing to keep the puppies until they’d had their shots and was a more appropriate age. It doesn’t make since that they won’t give the ones that they are just going to kill back to me. Treat me like a potential adopter. Come look at my house, my other animals. Check my references just like they do other adopters, and let me have them back. We’re part of the same team. They act like I’m trying to cheat them.
And I don’t know about your area but here most of the job positions aren’t filled by caring animal lovers. Their just people doing the dirty work no one else wanted to.
I’m sure there is a good reason, it’s just hard to see right now. And thank you LHD for doing such a depressing, thankless job compassionately.

Damit this was supposed to be a happy post.

Mmmmmm, I love putting a can of Dr. Pepper in the freezer for a little while, and all these ice crystals form… Mmmmmm

I humbly thank you Sgt. I would like to try to set it up so that you could send it to Lufkin East Texas Paws Rescue re. Little Sadness (that’s what I’ve always called her due to her thoughtless owners and because she has those huge precious moment eyes) so that you could have a record and it would be tax deductible. They just got their non-profit status (or whatever you call it) so I’ll see if they have paypal and if they don’t maybe I could set it up for them.
CUMRN > thanks for that tip!! I’ll get right on it.

oh and “…here most of the job positions aren’t filled by caring animal lovers. Their just people doing the dirty work no one else wanted to.” They’re. Sorry I just hate that.

Well, I can tell you our own shelter’s policy on that. Animals are surrendered to us in one of two ways:

  1. Owner surrenders
  2. Strays.

If you’ve been feeding them for four weeks, we’d consider your bringing them in to be an owner surrender–once you’ve cared for an animal for ten days (I think), the presumption is that you’re the owner, under our ordinance. With an owner surrender animal, we may be so busy that we have to euthanize it within minutes of the owner’s leaving the building. Our animals don’t all get five days or whatever in adoptions before they’re euthanized: they either stay in adoptions until they’re adopted, or they’re immediately euthanized.

There are various reasons for this policy which I can go into if it’s helpful.

If you bring in a stray animal, we hold it for seventy two hours before deciding whether we’ll put it in adoptions. IF THE PERSON BRINGING IT IN SO REQUESTS, we’ll hold it for an additional 24 hours after the stray hold period is up: this is the time period that the person has to come to the shelter and adopt the animal. We do not call them; we do not in any way notify them. We simply don’t have the staff resources to do that.

But again, we don’t do this for owner surrenders, because we don’t hold the animals for any specific length of time. We make it explicit that there’s no “remorse period,” and we treat the surrenderer with respect and courtesy, but we make no exceptions on this policy.

Yes, we’re on the same team as you–but we kind of feel like we’re more than pulling our own weight on the team. We want people to bring animals to us only as a last resort, after they’ve exhausted all other options; even so, people bring us over 9,000 animals every year, and we’re operating with about 2/3 the staff members recommended by professional organizations, and we’re not unusual in that respect.

So if the shelters refuse to put the animals up for adoptions and then adopt them back to you if they can’t find a home, it may be for a couple reasons:

  1. Not all their animals go into adoptions in the first place; and
  2. They feel that if you can adopt them, then that’s what you should do, because putting them at the shelter is going to mean that some other animal has to be euthanized to make room for them.
    oh, and
  3. Some people (obviously not you) try to use the shelter as an inexpensive kennel where they can leave their animals for a few days and then come pick them up when they’re ready. Shelters have to have policies to prevent this.

(All that said, it seems weird to me that, if they went in adoptions, they’d ban you from adopting them; are you certain that’s their policy, or were they just saying they couldn’t guarantee that you’d be able to adopt them if noone else did?)

Yeah, there definitely are people out there who aren’t in the business from compassion, but who are just doing a job that they don’t care about, and I hate that they’re out there. I just want you to understand that even if they’re passionate about their job, there may be very good reasons for what appears to be their refusal to work with you on this. The sheer enormity of the problem forces animal shelters to make what look from the outside like some brutal and callous decisions; but these decisions are often the best thing they can do to save the most animals.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m mad at you, because I’m really not: I think what you’re doing is very kind and compassionate, and I hate that you’re having to deal with the results of your neighbor’s irresponsibility. I just want to give you another perspective on what may be happening.

Best of luck on finding homes for these puppies!


Daniel (ever hear the old Elton John song? Every time I see you sign “Daniel” I hear it in my head as “Daniel my brother…”),

What it comes down to is the way my insurance carrier views the situation. I have seen a couple cases of Rabies in my career. People die of rabies. I personally had a very close call. Until a vaccine manufacturer has the words “for the prevention of rabies in dogs, wolves, and dog/wolf hybrids” there is no way my insurance will cover me. There was a famous case (in the early 90s I think) of a wolf hybrid that was vaccinated and later contracted rabies. Most veterinarians I know will not risk their home/business/savings/etc in a situation like this.