Death Row Dogs: Plane Full of Rescue Animals from New Mexico Lands in Utah
October 17, 2015
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  • Animal lover Christina Owens brought her dog, 4-month-old Powder, out for some fresh air.

    “She had no hair when we got her,” said Owens.

    Powder’s getting over a nasty case of mange.

    “Basically, it’s a parasite that attacks the dog’s skin,” said Owens. “They lose their hair, and they start eating at them.”

    Owens nursed Powder back to health, but she’s not the only dog Owens is taking care of. She has 46.

    “I love animals!” Owens said. “And I’m a little crazy.”

    Of course, these dogs don’t all live with Owens — she runs Utah Lost and Found Pets, helping place animals in foster homes.

    But Powder’s playground today is no park —it’s an airport. Owens stands with Stephanie Smith, watching a small plane roll up to a hangar at the South Valley Regional Airport. Smith helped plan this day.

    “Just did a mass rescue evacuation of death row dogs in New Mexico,” Smith said.

    The plane is crammed full of rescue dogs from New Mexico — dogs who now have a future.

    “In New Mexico, they typically only have three days to be saved,” Smith said. “So as you can imagine, it’s pretty tough over there to be a pet.”

    Smith said shelters in New Mexico are simply overwhelmed with pets.

    “They’re euthanized, and taken out in black garbage bags and taken to the landfill,” Smith said. “There’s not even a lot of time to network these dogs.”

    She said many people simply don’t understand the importance of spaying and neutering their pets, making days like this part of a never-ending cycle.

    “We take out fifty, fifty come in the next day,” Smith said. “These guys? They have no voices. They have no one to help them. Some of them have never even felt a human hand, other than to be mean to them.”

    But these dogs have little to worry about, as they aren’t even going to shelters. Instead, they’re going to foster homes — and hopefully, finding a place to call their own.