Minn. Group Saves 41 Pets From S.D. Reservation

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

SISSETON, S.D. (WCCO) — A plan to shoot stray dogs on a reservation in South Dakota has a group of Minnesotans doing what they can to help.

Dogs will soon be banned in public housing on the Traverse Indian Reservation in Sisseton, where there are already too many former pets wandering the streets.

“We’ve gotten a call from the tribal police saying that there were too many strays running around and their only option would be to shoot them,” said Cheryl Anderson with the Lake Traverse Animal Rescue.

It was a mission of mercy for rescuers who traveled more than 500 miles round-trip to find as many dogs and cats as they could.

“One dog was found literally running down the road with another dog, a little tiny Pomeranian. So, we stopped the car, we opened the door and they jumped in,” said Heidi Harden with Paws 4 Cause.

Thirty-one dogs were rescued and 10 cats were also saved. It’s one of the last chances people who live on the reservation have to find a good home for their pets.

“The Lake Traverse Housing Authority has declared a ban on all dogs in public housing,” Harden said.

The ban on dogs in public housing was first scheduled for Jan. 1. It has now been pushed back to April 1.

Of the animals found, some were well cared for, others were covered in ice and some had burrs in their fur, but all were friendly.

“They are all very social animals, because they live, generally, running loose a lot of the time,” Anderson said. “They have to get along with dogs, they have to get along with cats.”

From here they get checked out by the vet and then all of the animals are up for adoption. If you’d like more information about that, click here for Paws 4 Cause’s website.

WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman Reports

More from Reg Chapman
  • Heidi Harden

    Perhaps no regional impact if that means your personal house. I wonder how those dogs fee about the impact in their lives? Or the families that will share their lives with their dogs.

  • Deb

    I think it’s a wonderful story and after all the bad news such as the shootings in Tucson, I was ready for a happy story.

  • J Fish

    :) My Puppy and I loved this story.

  • Judy

    Don’t you think it’s time for some “feel good” stories after what happened in AZ????

    • Jessica Erin Rushenberg

      THis is a “feel good” story in a way… there have been many dogs saved by the rescue groups participating in the cause, and hopefully this story will raise awareness and get more people involved- which will allow more dogs to be rescued!

  • Jess

    I love animals, and I loved hearing about the good work these people have done to help. It makes me proud to be from MN. If you don’t like stories such as these, don’t read them. And certainly don’t take the time to comment. There is no need to trample the benevolence or joy of others.

  • Wendy

    Heidi, you and your team are true heros! Keep up the great work and I’ll do my small part in making donalations to Paws for a Cause. Hopefully others will do the same!

  • WH

    Shame on you! This story gives me hope that there are many people who care about making the world a better place for dogs. If you don’t care, please don’t detract from these issues by making negative comments. What kind of person does that???? Don’t be one of those people. . .not cool!!

  • Cheri

    We adopted a dog that was rescued in December from this reservation. He is the most wonderful little dog. I am so happy we were able to give him a good home. He is perfect for us. I’m glad you are following this story. Hopefully all of these new dogs will find good homes also.

    • Emily Randolph

      Thank you for helping by adopting!!

  • Tonya

    People from animal rescues have the biggest hearts. I am so proud of the work they do and the contribution they make to these pets lives. What you all do is so wonderful and not appreciated enough. Thank you, to all of those who help with this cause!

  • MuchToDo

    Sad thing is this is happening on other reservations too, but it’s just not getting taken care. Don’t get on your high horse and call me racist, just drive through Red Lake on a Sunday afternoon and see how many times you have to slow down because there are too many dogs on a road with a 55 mph speed limit.

    • Cheryl

      Believe it or not, Red Lake Reservation is way ahead of the Lake Traverse Reservation when it comes to Spay/Neuter, vaccinating animals, and getting them to rescue! Lake Traverse is trying to emulate some of the things that have been successful on Red Lake. Red Lake has huge spay/neuter/vaccination clinics a couple times of year, and they have lines of people waiting to get their animals in. On Lake Traverse, we’re still trying to educate the population that they should spay and neuter.

  • Total Entertainment

    I found another webste that lists all the rescue groups involved in this wonderful cause. I is a little easier to navigate throught the pages then the site you have on here. All the groups and their we page links are right on the first page below the story anout what is happening out there.


  • Michelle

    Too many people out there treat animals like trash, to be discarded when they no longer want them. Thank goodness for these wonderful people who rescue homeless and abused animals. My little dachshund Oliver was rescued from a puppy mill, and he the sweetest, most loving little guy.

  • KK

    What kind of puppy is the white one???? So adorable

    • Tais

      The little white one looks kinda like a Miniature Alaskan Spitz to me. They are a VERY adorable breed! Google em, and look at the pics, they will make your heart melt!

    • Anna

      They believe she’s a Husky/Eskimo, but it isn’t known for sure.

  • Ed

    Every year we hear how the shelters are too full, how did the shelters in Minnesota find room and homes for dogs from SD? I hope the dogs that are in MN shelters now are spared from being put down while homes are found for them before we drag every stray from around the midwest into the over crowded MN shelters.

    • Cheryl

      Ed, I’m coordinating the rescue effort on the reservation. I also am a volunteer at an impound in the Twin Cities. I have not had any problems finding rescue for the impound animals, even though we are bringing in the reservation animals.

      Twin Cities rescue groups bring in hundreds of animals from out of state each month. For some, it makes sense. For instance, there are not enough boxers and bulldogs to meet the demand in MN. They are plentiful elsewhere. Why should they die unnecessarily? I disagree with bringing in a lot of labs, and large breed mixed dogs, when there are plenty here.

      Some of the impounds and shelters in MN make it difficult for rescues to work with them, or do not get word out when they need help. I get more emails each day about dogs in need in Georgia, than I do from MN! As the reservation rescue unfolded, I tried to discourage rescues from transporting dogs from far away, to make sure they had room for the animals closer to home. If there are shelters struggling, I’d like to know about it. I can get them the attention they need to help save the animals. Recently I’ve partnered with Otter Tail County and they’ve now been able to place many of their animals with rescue groups.

      Usually when I talk about local animals, I would include MN, plus all border towns….Fargo, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, etc. If the Twin Cities is the nearest large metro area, I tend to count them as local and needing our help.

      • Ed

        Great, the shelter in Brooklyn Park, MN needs a home for 41 cats.
        Step up.

        • Cheryl

          Hey Ed! I never saw your reply until just now. There is no impound in Brooklyn Park. The impound for BP is in Maple Grove. I’m a volulnteer there, and live in Brooklyn park. I’m guessing the 41 cats you are talking about are from a rescue that is having to relocate. I have just recently heard that they found a new building, and hope to move there soon. None of those cats need rescue. They are in rescue.

    • Keith House

      Love and compassion goes beyond state borders.

    • Emily Randolph

      Ed- All of the rescues involved in this wonderful cause are no-kill rescues, that utilize foster care as opposed to moving the animals into a shelter. They all take in animals to avoid this kind of thing from happening. Many, many rescues are involved and there is an astonishing amount of time and planning put into these ‘rescue runs’ before they happen. Each rescue that participates knows how many animals they have room for and where they are going before the run happens. The best aspect of this particular rescue effort is the number of rescues that are all chipping in and working together to make sure all of these animals have new homes to go to. Without this important aspect, the level of success we are witnessing would not be possible.

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  • Shannon

    No matter where these animals came from or what the situation is, they deserve better. I can’t stand irresponsible pet owners. Thank goodness there are rescue organizations out there trying to help out these poor abandoned animals. Stories like this give me hope that good selfless people are still out there. So often we forget that our pets give us all of themselves and ask for so little in return.

  • Heidi Harden

    The three little white puppies are German Shepherds. They are adorable and their parents are truly amazing! We had five rescue people walk up the driveway and the parents of those puppies met us with tails wagging and grinz on their faces. Very friendly, loved to be petted and a magnificent pair of GSD’s. Thanks Scott for posting your link up there :)

  • KG

    In addition to Paws 4 Cause, I would also like to recognize Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue who also took in over 20 dogs/cats from this reservation. We are so luck to have such AMAZING people out there, who care so much about the well being of animals, heading up these rescues. Animal rescues don’t receive the credit they deserve and I hope this story shows how important these organizations really are. I for one can say how proud I am to be a foster for animals that need a warm place and a loving home as they find their forever homes.

  • Jeanne Duffy

    I give credit to the Rescue Organizations out there, and believe that they are motivated by excellent intentions. However, the problem will continue unless the people who live in Sisseton recognize the need for pets to be spayed or neutered. This also applies to all of the other places where there are more pets than there are potential good homes. I hope that the Rescue organizations can take a twofold approach to this, in that there needs to be continued emphasis of the responsibility that dog and cat owners have to be diligent about controlling the problem of overpopulation of pets. Unscrupulous puppy mill owners need better surveillance also and need better oversight by appropriate authorities. I notice that MN is getting more and more animals from other states. I guess that is a reflection of the fact that there are a lot of caring people and organizations in our state. Is it just my perception that this may not be the case in many other states? I don’t know – just wondering.

    • Cheryl

      The Lake Traverse Animal Rezcue is the group coordinating this effort. In addition to getting these animals to safety, they are also working on spay/neuter clinics and education.

    • Kristin M

      When we encountered the family that had the white puppies and surrendered them to us, they were very nice, and curious about the resources available to them locally to help vet their dogs. We talked with them about altering their dogs and they were more than happy to make their dogs available to do this. They have been connected with the Lake Treverse Rezcue and will hopefully be set up to alter their dogs in the near future. We are there to rescue the dogs, but we do everything we can to educate and set residents up with programs that will help them with vetting and altering their dogs.

  • jIM

    I am a foster home for the animals from the traverse reservation and it would not be fair to blame it on the residents when in fact it was the triable houseing people that made the decision. There were residents on the res that helped get the dogs together so that the rescues could get them out.There is probably at least 10–15 rescue organizations that are involved in this effort. These rescues are made up of private partys that if they dont get donations pay out of there own pockets for all the expenses.Some of the animals were in pretty tuff shape and it cost all of us involved to save there lives–GOD BLESS ALL INVOLVED

  • Kristin M

    The little white one is a shepherd….I saw the parents during the round up and they are both absolutely gorgeous and very nice dogs!

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