SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — Search and rescue workers and wildlife officers in northern Utah have rescued three Great Pyrenees puppies abandoned in frigid temperatures in the mountains, authorities said.
Snowmobilers near Monte Cristo found the puppies Sunday hiding in an animal carcass, Weber County search and rescue crew members and the state Division of Wildlife Resources said.
“They were little frozen ice balls, they had ice frozen in their fur,” snowmobiler Kat Perry told KUTV-TV. “They were eating anything they could find.”
Perry and Corey Holt found a female Great Pyrenees wandering in the area Saturday and after failed attempts to capture her, they went back Sunday and found the puppies, they said.
“It’s great to be able to save the pups. I wish we could have got mom, it would have been really great to have the whole family,” Perry said.
The puppies’ mother might have been left behind by a sheep rancher leaving the mountains for winter.
“They leave them up there to guard the sheep. Once they pull their sheep off the mountain, if the dogs aren’t there they leave them up on the mountain and abandon them,” said Shauna Thompson, a member of the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Montana, which also operates in Utah.
Abandoned Great Pyrenees are reported in the mountains yearly, but animal cruelty statutes do not apply to livestock animals like herding dogs, authorities said.
“This is a recurring problem that we have been working for years now to get laws changed to encompass livestock dogs,” Thompson said.