LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – A few months ago, KTSM reported on dead dogs found in a man’s backyard in Dona Ana County. The still-living dogs he had were removed temporarily, then later returned to him.

Foster Schneider, a volunteer for the local shelter says the dogs were returned to the owner because in Las Cruces animals are considered property. To be able to keep the dogs away, they technically have to get permission from the owner.

The volunteers were able to rescue and keep three out of the five dogs, but Schneider says she is educating the man on how to properly care for a dog.

“Educating him on they need water its 104, they need food, we need to make sure they have shade, if your gonna have them on the chain you need to be outside with them,” said Schneider.

Geri Wheelis, another volunteer says there are around two hundred fifty dogs in the shelter right now, but says that is low compared to the norm of three to four hundred. She says it’s due to a distemper outbreak.

“They had to clean out an entire kennel to have a clean area between distempered exposed dogs and non distempered exposed dogs.”

Schneider says, they are always looking for volunteers and people to foster. She says even someone to come walk the dogs is helpful. She add that those who volunteer to walk the dog help them to release some energy and calm down.

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