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Holiday spirit could benefit needy DAWGS

By Joe Chapman
Publication Date 12/09/2005

Four months from eviction and still no place to go, the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary is trying to find new homes for its dogs with added urgency.Its directors hope the holiday spirit might make a difference for their homeless animals and those at other area shelters."This is the time of year people are adding to their families with cute little puppies and all those things," said Diane Trull, co-director of DAWGS. "We've got so many shelters and rescues in the area that have all these great dogs that need a home." Using a trailer donated by a Houston family, the DAWGS shelter has been hauling 26 dogs at a time to Amarillo for Saturday adoption clinics at PetsMart, 2800 S. Soncy Road.Trull said she knows her facility's dogs will make good family pets because they have already been kid-tested. About 50 students from Dalhart Junior High School volunteer at the shelter. The Trulls opened it with the school children's help about two years ago on two acres of city land. photo

Operated as a no-kill facility, the shelter has given almost 3,000 lost pets a second chance and has earned national recognition in the animal rights community.But the success also has brought consequences. The large number of dogs have become a noise nuisance for a nearby cemetery, and the city has given DAWGS until the first of April to find a new location."When they moved out there, they had probably 20 dogs. Now it's around 600 dogs," City Manager Greg Duggan said. "We didn't anticipate it, and I'm sure they didn't either.

Saving Dawgs New York-based People Magazine will feature the shelter's plight in its Dec. 19 2006 issue, which goes on sale today "You can't conduct a funeral with any respect anymore. You can't hear the sermon. In the mornings, particularly when they feed, you can hear them for more than a mile surrounding it."Contrary to rumors about a new railroad spur, the shelter's size and the barking are the only factors in the city's decision, Duggan said. kids and puppies

While the proposed spur to Sweet Bran Cattle Feed would go near the property, none of the city's land would be used for it, he said. The acreage was deeded to the city years ago for water well development, and it may go back to being used for cattle grazing once the shelter is removed, he said.Where the shelter will go isn't as clear."We've applied for some grants to help with the building, but we just have to find the land first," Trull said.They've had some offers, but nothing has worked out yet, she said.They're looking for 20 to 50 acres somewhere near Dalhart so the schoolchildren can still be involved. A big lot would allow room for inside buildings with outside runs and enough of a buffer between the shelter and its neighbors, she said."Because we're very aware of it. A lot of dogs do make noise," Trull said.

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