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Puppy mill dog finds new home

BISMARCK (AP) -- John Ringland has himself a quiet dog that brings back memories of his boyhood.

Mike, the dog, with the coloring of a collie and the body of a cocker spaniel, follows Ringland wherever he goes and naps at his feet when he's sitting at his desk.

Mike used to be tied up to a fence at an abandoned farmyard near Scranton. He was close to starvation when he was rescued in mid-October, one of 200 young dogs and puppies in an out-of-control puppy mill that were left neglected when their owner was evicted from the farm.

"He's a one-man dog. He doesn't want me to leave his side. He was so quiet in the kennel. I just liked the looks of him," Ringland said.

Ringland adopted Mike on Nov. 12 from the Central Dakota Humane Society, renaming him from Pedro in honor of the first dog he had as a boy.

Ringland, 67, of Mandan, had been following the story of the dogs and their rescue, the largest ever undertaken by Central Dakota, and went out to have a look.

"These dogs intrigued me. I saw a lot of cute dogs out there," he said.

The rescue was put into action when complaints of the dogs' condition reached the Bowman County sheriff, who in turn contacted Central Dakota Director Sue Buchholz.

The dogs' owner, LuAnn Riebe Dschaak, now of Marmarth, voluntarily gave up most of the dogs the first time, but a second rescue of the remaining 70 dogs required the intervention of law enforcement.

All the dogs had parasites, some were near starvation, and still others had old wounds and other problems. Some were pregnant.

At the time, Dschaak said she had been given some breeding dogs to start a business, but it got away from her with more than a dozen litters born in a few months' time last summer. She said she was evicted when she complained to the farm owners about raw sewage in the basement and that some of the dogs got sick from contact with the sewage.