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Northern Minnesotans Scramble to Rescue ‘At Least’ 18 Abandoned Dogs

Thankfully, most have been recovered as statewide groups rush to help.

Amanda Vogel

It's unclear who dumped as many as 20 dogs outside Voyageurs National Park in far northern Minnesota around April 5. Or why they did it. “There’s so much speculation around this, I’m hesitant to even get involved in that," says rescue coordinator Amanda Vogel.

Vogel, who works for the nearby Kabetogama Fire Department and owns sled-dog kennel Snomad Racing, says the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office questioned the owner of a van with New Mexico plates, but he was quickly sent on his way. "The story goes that he said it was an accident… but c’mon!" Vogel says.

Law enforcement declined to help with rescue efforts, so dog-wrangling tasks fell to a core group of about 20 volunteers, plus rescue and foster groups The Retrievers, Lost K9, Safe Hands Rescue, Adopt A Husky Minnesota, and BarkinQ Rescue Across the Globe. “Rescue groups from the cities rallied and came up, they're just amazing," Vogel says.

(Full, chest-pumped journalistic disclosure: I adopted my stately dog, Koda, through Adopt A Husky.)

The collarless dogs have been spotted as many as 40 miles away from the abandonment site. One even crossed the Rainy River into Canada. For weeks now, volunteers have baited humane traps, followed leads from sightings, and monitored live cams. As of Wednesday 16 dogs have been saved, including four puppies who never wandered off.

“They’re some kind of husky mix, some are kind of unusual looking," Vogel says. "They’re beautiful, sweet, good with kids, good with other dogs. They’re just sweethearts.”

Even more good news: Several have already found permanent families (a couple via "foster fails," Vogel says), while others have landed with foster families ahead of hopeful adoptions.

The search is still on for the remaining dogs. Volunteer Sabrina Murray urges folks to not approach the dogs if you spot 'em. Instead, she says to report their whereabouts to this Facebook page created to help retrieve the so-called "Ash River Abandoned Dogs." A GoFundMe was launched yesterday to help recoup rescue costs (gas, bait, vets), and it has already raised $2,590 of the $5,000 goal.

Wanna see some pix of this not-so-wild pack of family dogs? We know you do.

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