RIFLE, Colo. — Seven puppies have died after being abandoned in a wooded area outside Rifle, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Around 3 p.m. on Oct. 26, deputies responded to County Road 244 near Rifle. A couple who was camping had discovered an open trash bag with nine puppies inside of it not far from the road.
Two of the puppies had already died. The sheriff’s office said the litter was likely less than 24 hours old.
“With their slightly dried umbilical cords still attached and their eyes closed, they would not have survived the night. The cold afternoon air and the coming colder night, with no nourishment, would have soon seen the end to the entire litter,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The puppies were taken to Divide Cree Animal Shelter in Silt.
“Once at the clinic, the puppies were immediately placed in warm towels and under a surgical lamp with several bulbs to bring their body temperatures back up to a normal range. A bottle feeder was used with formula to nourish the puppies. Puppies generally eat about every two hours. Once fed and in their warm environment, the puppies quit crying and fidgeting; they were able to rest after a very turbulent and stressful beginning to their life,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
As of Wednesday morning, only two of the nine puppies found remained alive. The sheriff’s office said the two puppies will be placed in foster care if they survive and may be adoptable in the future.
The sheriff’s office is investigating. It said animal abandonment is a class-1 misdemeanor and carries a minimum fine of $500 and a possibility of up to 6 months in jail.
“In this case, the charges could be made for each of the nine puppies, making the potential fine $4,500 or more. Additional charges, including cruelty to animals and violation of county ordinances and regulations, can also be cited and imposed,” the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact dispatch at 970-625-8095.