- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - There’s not much that can stop a hunting dog from following a scent, and it’s not uncommon for hunters to lose their dogs in the rural pastures and fields of northeast South Dakota.

Lost or abandoned hunting dogs are taken in by shelters or good Samaritans every year, especially during hunting season, the Aberdeen American News (https://bit.ly/2fG7QuI ) reported.

Watertown animal control officer Aaron Marotz works closely with the Glacial Lakes Humane Society and Shelter, which provides services to Codington County, Webster, Lake Norden, Milbank, and Estelline.

“We get a lot of labs and lab mixes up here. A lot of them are strays. People come and hunt and don’t always take their dogs back,” Marotz said.

Hunters who lose their dogs while out hunting may cover miles while searching for their companions, but many don’t know who to call to report a dog as missing.

Candace Maychrzak works with the Dakota Animal Resource Coalition, an animal shelter based in Scranton, N.D., that serves northwest South Dakota and southwest North Dakota. She said there are many hunters who don’t know where to look for their lost dogs.

“You would think if someone has a trained hunting dog they would tell the radio stations and authorities that they lost a hunting dog,” Maychrzak said.

Hunters who lose dogs and people who find them should notify local law enforcement agencies and animal shelters, she said.

Maychrzak is trying to raise awareness of the problem so lost hunting dogs can be reunited with their owners.

“A hunting dog is a pretty intense breed, and not everyone is able to foster or care for that type and give them what they need. There have been some hunting dogs that have come through my rescue, and maybe one-third have gone out again as hunting dogs,” she said.

Most dogs are lost unintentionally, but Maychrzak said there have been dogs that were likely intentionally abandoned in the country.

“I do believe that I’ve rescued a few hunting dogs that were trained, and they hunted and were just left behind,” she said.

But most cases of intentional dog abandonment are not hunting-related, she said.

Microchipping a dog can be instrumental in it being found when lost, Maychrzak said.

She recalled an incident of a dog found in the country that was days away from dying of starvation.

“The dog had a microchip from another shelter. Apparently, a man had adopted the dog just a month or so before and dumped it after two weeks,” she said.

Maychrzak called the shelter that had arranged the adoption to make sure it knew about the situation and make sure the man could not adopt any other animals.


Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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