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The Race to Rescue Dogs Abandoned by Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters

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It’s been about a week since authorities and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leaders evicted Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters from the Oceti Sakowin protest camp. But, protesters left more than just trash and unwanted belongings behind when they vacated the North Dakota campsite.

At least 8 dogs have been rescued so far – 2 adults and 6 puppies – but Furry Friends Rockin Rescue, who are heading up efforts to save any animals left behind, believe there are more in need of help.

Dogs were a common site at DAPL protester campsites. When those camps were vacated, many were left behind.

“It’s a mess down there, so it’s really, really hard to find these animals and get them,” Julie Schirado, the founder of Furry Friends told KFYR. Because loud machinery, bulldozers, and trucks are being used by the Army Corps of Engineers for the massive cleanup efforts, Schirado and other volunteers believe at least several more animals are in hiding. Volunteers plan to revisit the campsite on weekends and at times when camp is quiet to continue their search.

Cleanup efforts at the dry creek bed camp, however, are urgent as warmer weather and melting snow threaten to flood the camp, leaving trash and debris left behind to threaten the tribe’s water supply.

Rescue volunteer Tiffany Hardy said that, of the 8 animals rescued, many are in need of veterinary care, including treatment for mange, overgrown toenails, patchy fur, frostbitten ears, wounded paws, and signs of hypothermia as a result of being left to fend for themselves in the harsh North Dakota winter climate.

It is not clear why the animals were left, or who they belonged to, but Furry Friends says they’re not interested in the politics of the situation. Their first and only priority is the well being of the animals already rescued and those still left behind.

The group’s Facebook page says that they have been overwhelmed by potential adopters and are no longer accepting applications for people hoping to adopt. They are, however, in desperate need of donations, blankets, and food to care for the DAPL dogs.

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