300 dogs discovered frozen to death at Turtle Mountain

The tragedy of 300 dogs found frozen to the ground in Turtle Mountain, North Dakota has been shared hundreds of times from the Facebook page of Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue. The news, however doesn’t mean in anyway that the rescue organization founders, Keith and Kim Benning, were responsible for the deaths of the dogs. The couple drove around an area of land covering 31 miles and found 300 dead dogs as the spring temperatures melted the snow and the ice in their little section of the world.

“One of our volunteers from Grand Forks came up and I drove her around to show her the problem. Did we see dead dogs? Yes. Did we stop and count 300 that day? No. Did 300 dogs die this winter? Yes. I had several messages for stray mothers that had puppies under trailers in early December. The people that message did so because they cared. What I ended up with was 30 dead frozen puppies from various litters. Some were emaciated and a little older, and some were only a few days old. Mom must have gone out looking for food and the puppies couldn’t stay warm enough. That was on four trips from people that messaged. How many didn’t message? How many died in garbage piles and abandoned homes or trailers?”

According to Keith, who is a deputy in the area and Kim, an emergency room nurse practitioner, this sad state of affairs happens every year. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered breed in the spring, summer and fall, and when the innocent litters are born, they quickly become sick, neglected and starved – thus freezing to death from lack of care. Although the rescue organization does the best they can to save dogs, they have no actual shelter and use their own home to nurse and foster strays with a little help from outside volunteers (thank goodness).

“I know this because we are the ones that do our best to deal with it… We turn dogs away every week because we just don’t have the room. We are the ones that decides who lives and who dies by who we have room to rescue,” continued Kim. “This is not a reservation problem. This is not a native problem. Anyone who thinks differently can leave the page. This is a geographical economic problem. We are the second poorest county in the state and have the highest jobless rate. It’s hard for people to find work when there…”

And as to the photo of the dead dog, his picture was posted as a reminder of a dog Kim loved when she was younger. His name was Snowy, and for this dog – she was there when his photo was taken:

“This one, what was his life like, how old was he, was he ever loved once, even for a day? Or did he somehow revert from domesticated back to his wild ancestor and only care about survival? Even then, survival is never a solitary thing; was anyone ever by his side, even for a day? I fear that what I imagine his life to be is actually much less harsh than the incredibly cold life he lived.”

Spring is upon Turtle Mountain again. Pets who have not been spayed or neutered will begin the reproductive cycle again, and next winter history will repeat itself. The solution is to rescue, surrender, spay and neuter. To help, please click here. Break the cycle and help those who cannot speak.

(Photo of dead dog from 300 dogs died at Turtle Mountain courtesy of Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue)

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18 replies
  1. Bev Schmidt says:

    Spay & Neuter. Sponsor a mobile unit. Will be money well spent… This is a public responsibility, just like public assistance & welfare. Local gov, rescues, community, someone there needs to pick up the ball to break the cycle of this recurring tragedy. Where there is a will, there is a way…

    Reply
  2. pennysdachshund says:

    In Southern Montana: Lame Deer, Lodge Grass , Crow Agency ( Yes it is too a reservation problem) there is RezDog Rescue out of Billings, Mt. They go to these individual Native American Reservations and assist with spay, neuter, rescue to save as many as they can…. !!! Poor , by choice, neglectful, and uncaring is mostly the issue here!!! It’s doesn’t make things easier to try and conceal the issue….

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  3. Mandi says:

    Change the headline to say something like “Over the course of the winter 300 dogs…”. The rescue stated all 300 were not found frozen at one time. They were found over the course of the winter. It does not make it any less sad though. However, trying to cause drama for ratings is making me think you have other agendas than helping animals. Why not just be straight forward about what happened? You will gain a hell of a lot more respect from those who actually read the story.

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    • pennysdachshund says:

      This Needs to be checked out by another than the person reporting that this is NOT a RESERVATION ISSUE with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, local sheriff , and the nearest animal shelter in the area… for ‘the truth the whole truth and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH””” bet there is a big difference in the tail of two cities!!!!

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  4. Kathleen Drude says:

    You find nothing wrong with 300 dead dogs and puppies! Are you kidding me? Even one dead is too much! You know they every year! You do nothing! You know this can be prevented but again you don’t do anything about their plight! I don’t understand that mentality!

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    • pennysdachshund says:

      OUT here it’s called RESERVATION MENTALITY::: Golly Look at the HOLES cut into the pipeline out there that now will cost taxpayer’s Billion’s to fix!!! Who’s gonna pay for that :: : YOU and Me.. that is also the only way the poor animal’s will get fixed too::: just guess what a happy, nurturing , loving home, and nutritional diet most of the children have too!!! Those animals are just a very small dent in the holistic life style on the REZ!!!

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  5. fortstclairkennelclub says:

    Doesn’t seem like much of a rescue. There are mobile spay and neuter groups that perform marathon sessions on reservations— that they haven’t arranged to have one visit does not speak well of them.

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    • Sm says:

      Ok… this article was written poorly and a bit cofusing. I read it to quickly the first time. I first thought it was saying this happened on the rescue groups land! But ,no, it just happened in the area of turtle mountain. These poor creatures are freezing to death because of ignorance.

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  6. Elaine says:

    Yes it is the owners responsible for their pets….so therefore they are responsible to have their animals spay or neutered….if you can’t afford to you shouldn’t have any, bottom line, especially if there is no clinic to help with subsidizing the cost. I know lots of people who would love a cat or dog, but say they can’t afford to. Thats the proper way to think about it, before you get one, not after. Reservations are a problem with lots of animals everywhere, especially horses and dogs that I’ve witnessed first hand. So don’t try and minimize who is supposed to be responsible for animals that depend on humans for care of all kinds.

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    • pennysdachshund says:

      80% aren’t even somewhat responsible for themselves and family…. they are the ones that wait for the govt. paycheck monthly and never even try to go to work… Hell they can go to collage free of charge in most states. how many do you see do that… The Government and Society created this mess, by making the Native American into a dependent, and Nation that expects the USA to continue of their life long time on earth to be supported and paid for Columbus finding America hundreds of years ago…

      Reply

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