CACHE COUNTY (ABC4 News) – For four long, grueling months, Shelly Rovira and Kathryn MacLeod have searched deep into the mountainous area of Monte Cristo for a female Great Pyreness, whom they’ve named “Grace.” The dog is mother to the three puppies spotted by snowmobile riders and rescued with the assistance of sheriff’s deputies back in December.
Since then, they spotted Grace several times with two other male Great Pyrenees dogs. But their efforts to rescue and bring the dogs safely back down the mountain have been unsuccessful.
Last week, they responded to a report of one of those male dogs found shot and killed near Hardware Ranch in Cache County. Animal advocates said the dog was possibly the father of the three rescued puppies. The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Utah offered a $1,500 reward for information leading to the person responsible for the dog’s death.
“It has taken me a bit to process my emotions over the last few days and be able to express them without wanting to literally hurt the person(s) who shot General (the male dog) and left him to suffer a very painful, lonely exit from this world,” wrote Rovira on social media back on March 26th. “[They] are nothing but a coward.”
On Sunday, she responded to another report and found the other male dog dead after he starved and froze to death. They named the dog, “Justice.”
“I dropped to my knees, petted the poor dog, and apologized for the [expletive] of the humans who left it there,” wrote Rovira on Sunday. “He was only about 200 yards from where we found General when he was shot. […] He laid semi-curled up starving, surely broken, and froze to death. Another horrible senseless tragic death.”
Back in December, Shauna Thompson with Great Pyrenees Rescue of Utah told ABC4 News this case was part of a larger problem in Utah concerning ranchers and abandonment of livestock guardian dogs.
“This is an on-going problem that’s been going on for years. Every year at the end of grazing season, we do see several litters abandoned,” Thompson said in an interview with ABC4 News on December 2nd. “Some of them are injured and caught in traps. Some are left up on the mountain and they don’t survive. Too often when the snow hits, we don’t get to the animals in time and we find them deceased.”
Rebecca Pierpont said she is encouraging community members to call and write their local representatives to declassify livestock guardian dogs as livestock and offer them the same protections as other canines.
“This is heartbreaking and maddening. These dogs don’t deserve this life, this treatment, this death. But they’re depending on us to help them and this treatment won’t change without us stepping up to do something about it,” wrote Pierpont on social media.
She added, “The best thing we can do to help these dogs is to turn our anger and sadness into action. Livestock guardian dogs are classified as livestock, which exempts them from animal cruelty laws. They are often denied food, water, and basic medical case. They provide such a valuable service and deserve basic protections,” wrote Pierpont.
The Coalition for Livestock Guardian Dogs, a new non-profit organization has been established to lobby for basic protections, humane management, and livestock declassification. For more information on their group, click here.
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