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'A recurring problem': Animal rescuers care for puppies found abandoned in Utah mountains

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Three Great Pyrenees puppies are safe after being found in an animal carcass in the frigid temperatures of Utah’s Monte Cristo mountains. (Mike Sadowski / KUTV)

Three Great Pyrenees puppies are safe after being found in an animal carcass in the frigid temperatures of Utah’s Monte Cristo mountains.

Corey Holt and Kat Perry of Weber County found a female Great Pyrenees wandering near a snowmobile trail near Highway 39 on Saturday. The pair wasn’t able to catch the mother dog, but returned to the area on Sunday and found the puppies.

“They were little frozen ice balls, they had ice frozen in their fur,” Perry told 2News. “They were eating anything they could find.”

Perry and Holt were joined by members of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to bring the dogs out of the mountains. For now, they are staying with Perry at her Weber County home.

“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.

But how did the puppies end up there?

Shauna Thompson with the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Montana, which also operates in Utah, thinks the mother dog probably belonged to a sheep rancher and was left behind.

“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,” Thompson said.

Thompson said every Fall there are reports of abandoned Great Pyrenees in the mountains. Even if law enforcement found the owner of the dog and could prove she was abandoned, Thompson says animal cruelty statutes generally do not apply to livestock animals, like dogs used to herd sheep.

“This is a recurring problem that we have been working for years now to get laws changed to encompass livestock dogs,” Thompson said.

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