Oregon State Police announced Thursday that they rescued 15 dogs who’d been abandoned in the back of a U-Haul truck for three days at a Klamath Falls truck stop. Police said they also recovered an additional 10 dogs after tracking down two people suspected of stealing and abandoning the truck and the dogs.
“We’re just thankful that someone called and we were able to go locate them and get inside expeditiously,” said Capt. Kyle Kennedy, a spokesperson for state police.
Police sent out photos of some of the puppies in the hands of their beaming rescuers on Nov. 23 – Thanksgiving Day – which is the day someone called in a “suspicious vehicle” at Love’s Travel Stop in Klamath Falls and troopers responded to hear barking coming from inside the U-Haul. Kennedy said there were multiple breeds held in cages in the back of the truck, but it appears the puppies in the photos taken with troopers are Rottweilers or Rottweiler mixes.
All of the animals survived, though one of them tested positive for the potentially life-threatening canine parvovirus. Kennedy said it’s unclear how close to death the 15 dogs were, but the animals were “severely neglected” after a few days in the truck. He said it’s also unclear if anyone was planning on returning to the truck to retrieve them or if food or water had been left with the dogs to tide them over for what turned out to be three days.
Daytime high temperatures were in the low 50s, with nighttime temps dropping to freezing. Kennedy said the dogs might not have survived if it had been summer.
“If it had been hot, it would have been a different story,” he said.
The dogs were also found amid urine and piles of excrement.
Kennedy said because the investigation is still in its early stages and because some details must remain confidential for now, he can’t say who the truck was stolen from; why there were 15 dogs in the back; whether the 10 additional dogs had been in the truck and removed before the truck was abandoned; and how troopers tracked down their two prime suspects.
Police arrested two Klamath Falls residents – David Eugene McMillion, 50, and Lisa Annette Weeks, 39 – for accusations that include animal abandonment, second-degree animal neglect and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Jail records, however, show that the pair are no longer in custody. It’s unclear when their first court date will be because court charges haven’t been filed yet.
The dogs remain at the Klamath County Animal Shelter, which is currently closed to the public because one of the dogs tested positive for the parvovirus. All dogs at the shelter are being quarantined. Police said once the dogs have been medically cleared, they are expected to be put up for adoption. The shelter already has been flooded with dozens of adoption applications.