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Two arrested after more than 50 dogs found living in Mott home

MOTT--A pair from Mott have charged with animal cruelty and animal neglect after dozens of dogs were found to be living in their home on Halloween night, according to the Hettinger County Sheriff.

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Missy, an approximately 5-year-old Chihuahua, was among the more than 50 dogs rescued from a home in Mott where the animals were living. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

MOTT-A pair from Mott have charged with animal cruelty and animal neglect after dozens of dogs were found to be living in their home on Halloween night, according to the Hettinger County Sheriff.

Mary and William Ziegler, of Mott, were each charged with one count of Class C felony animal cruelty and Class A misdemeanor animal neglect after it was found that there were more than 50 dogs living in their home on Oct. 31.

Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner said that the scene Halloween night was scary.

"It was a horror pretty much what we walked into," she said.

Warner said while the dogs had food and water, the conditions that the dogs were living in were "not good."

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The dogs were taken to the Hettinger County Sheriff's Department for a couple days before being given to various shelters and individuals around the area, including Lois Laches in Mott, Second Hand Rescue in Glendive, Mont., Furry Friends in the Bismarck-Mandan area and Bakken Paws in Dickinson. Each dog was also bathed and groomed at Hot Dog Grooming in Mott.

Warner said the case remains under investigation.

Tasha Hermanson, president of Bakken Paws, said the group took on about 16 of the dogs, including a mother and four puppies. She said 11 of the dogs, which are mostly Chihuahuas, are currently living in foster homes in Dickinson, while the rest are with fosters in Hettinger.

Hermanson said that many community members have already come forward to give donations of food, blankets and other items. However, at this point they are still in need of monetary donations to help pay for the veterinary bills of the animals. She said some of the animals suffer from cerebellar hypoplasia, which is a condition in which parts of the brain have not completely developed.

"We're looking for donations for their medical care," Hermanson said. "We've got quite a few donations. It's been really nice. A lot of people have things, items, food, blankets, sweaters, jackets and then money as well because they'll all need to be spayed and neutered and they all have other medical issues."

She said while many fosters have already indicated that they would like to keep the rescued animals, Hermanson encourages them to wait to see how the dog reacts to its new environment over time.

"They become a different dog once they are in a different situation," she said. "I don't want anybody to see this dog they have here today, and it's going to change in a month. It might not fit or it might fit better."

This is only the second major dog rescue Bakken Paws has been involved in since it began doing animal rescues last year. Hermanson said they did a rescue earlier this spring involving Irish Pointers and Setters. She said they started out with 11 dogs in that case, but it quickly increased to 26 after puppies were born. However, she said those dogs were in an outdoor kennel, while the dogs they rescued recently were inside a home.

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Bakken Paws' pet store, WOOFTA, currently has one dog at the store named Missy. However, she is not currently available for adoption as they continue to give medical care to the dog.

"We'll wait for just the right home, somebody who wants to carry her around," Hermanson said. "She's potty trained actually. She's the only one that will go outside, but she has other issues. If people have steps we don't know if she'll be able to go up and down steps."

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