ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Pet owners living on the Navajo Nation are outraged after a stray dog round up wrangled their dogs as well.
Some say Navajo Animal Control workers are going too far.
"This is a dog that belonged to a neighbor, he said he put the food out in the morning, went back 10 minutes later his dog was gone," one pet owner said.
The pet owner and animal rescuer asked News 13 not to identify her for fear of retribution.
The roundups are happening on the Navajo Reservation where 59 dogs were picked up this week alone near Dine College.
"These dogs were people's pets actually. They were there to round up strays but they claim that they can round up any dog that's not on a chain or confined in a yard," the woman said.
Navajo Wildlife officials told News 13 they can pick those dogs up as well.
"If a dog is not restrained and it can come out of the yard it's considered a stray," said wildlife law enforcement manager Kevin Gleason.
The woman said many of the dogs are taken to a shelter where the conditions are horrifying. She called them hellish with dogs standing in their own urine and feces.
"They were five, six adult dogs per pen and these pens were maybe four by four they can barely stand in there much less sit down or lay down," she said adding, "there was no evidence of food or water."
The woman and her colleagues were able to get most of the dogs back to their owners or to other shelters. It was a race against time because unclaimed dogs are put down.
A shepherd mix puppy named Colonel Mustard was one of the puppies rescued from the shelter. She was brought to Animal Humane in Albuquerque. Once she is spayed she will be ready for adoption.
Navajo Animal Control said pet owners can avoid losing their pets by restraining them or fencing them in which is the law.
"If they take care of their animals in that manner we don't touch them, the only ones we pick up are the ones running at large," Gleason said.
Three more dogs that were rescued will be taken to Animal Humane on Monday. Those three plus Colonel Mustard should be available for adoption by the middle of next week.
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