Humane Society Celebrates 50+ Adoptions


Cindi Chandler

Chihuahuas and their new owners gather for a group picture at the Western Hills Humane Society second annual open house Oct. 3

Dani Litaba, Media Sales Representative

On April 25, 32 Chihuahuas and six cats were found in the back of a vehicle in the local Spearfish Wal-Mart parking lot. The couple who owned the vehicle were trying to start a puppy mill, and were attempting to transport the animals from Washington to Wisconsin. By April 26, the Western Hills Humane Society had taken in the animals, and the Spearfish community had come together to help clean and take care of the cats and dogs. Three of the dogs were pregnant and wound up having 17 puppies total.

“[The animals] were very dirty. They had been traveling in very tiny kennels stacked on top of each other,” said Brenda Hendricks, a Western Hills Humane Society volunteer.

This case involved the largest number of animals the Humane Society had ever dealt with. “[The animals] were so scared, they needed to be in a home environment,” said Cindi Chandler, an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Black Hills State University and a foster parents to five of the dogs .

Most of the animals from the incident, with the exception of one dog and one cat, have been adopted or are in foster homes. The Western Hills Humane Society held their second annual open house fundraiser event Oct. 3, and many of new Chihuahua owners brought their dogs in for the event.

“I know some people who foster regularly and it gives them a good feeling to have helped an animal,” said Tamara Lawson, a foster parent to one of the Chihuahua’s and a professor in the BHSU’s School of Natural Sciences. Lawson also helped with cleaning the cats and Chihuahuas when they arrived at the shelter.

The Humane Society is currently searching for volunteers. The more volunteers they have, the more grants the Society can apply for. The grants go toward immunizations and supplies for the shelter, including food, electricity, and more.

“We need good foster homes. If you’re a foster, there’s a process, there’s an application, but it’s truly a rewarding thing to do,” said Chandler. To foster, adopt, volunteer, or donate to the Western Hills Humane Society, call 605-642-2761 or go to