OKMULGEE, Okla.- A total of 18 abandoned dogs were confiscated in Schulter County in a recent investigation by Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police. Of those 18 dogs, four were fully grown pregnant females, one was an adult male. Currently the suspect in this investigation has a warrant out for his arrest for abandoning the dogs, but has not been found yet.
MCN Lighthorse Game Ranger Troy Dodd has been working these animal cases that deal with domestic abuse, as well as the trapping and removal of animals.
During this rescue process the dogs are taken to a veterinarian to get weighed, identify their sex, identify their breed and make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. According to Dodd, once the department gets approval from a judge, the dogs are then neutered and spayed.
At the time they were confiscated the four pregnant female dogs gave birth to litters, increasing the initial 18 dogs to 32. Dodd believes the puppies are half bullmastiff and half labrador retrievers. Currently these puppies are being held at the Alta Vista Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge.
Vista’s partnership with the tribe began two and a half years ago when they helped Dodd with adopting out and housing 80 dogs. Ever since then he has had them on call. He also partners with the non-profit organization, Oklahoma Animal Alliance and the Tulsa Humane Society.
“Some of these dogs if we can’t get them adopted out here we can move them to other states back east,” Dodd said.
To help find the confiscated dogs forever homes an adoption event was held July 29. The event saw nearly a dozen adoptions. Tulsa Humane Society’s Gina Gardner took another 10 puppies from the confiscated litters to help them find forever homes. Now there are 11 puppies left.
During the adoption process a Lighthorse official will take down names, birthdates, current addresses and phone numbers. All of this is to ensure that the dogs will to a good home.
MCN Lighthorse have also adopted out dogs in the past. These dogs would typically be picked up in areas alongside roadways. After they were rescued, the dogs would typically be adopted out to people the officers knew would have the ability to provide a stable home.
Dodd’s duties deal with a lot of animals throughout a typical week. He tries his best to find the right place to take the animals and make sure they are well taken care of. Dodd typically receives at least five or 10 calls a week about animals. Within the past two weeks he has assisted in processing home evictions at MCN houses that involved animals.
In the past Dodd has had people call to make an adoption request. Although these requests are routine, Dodd keeps their phone number on file to contact. This is just in case of an event where the animal’s original owners come looking for them.
“We are 11 counties and I’m the only person that is handling this right now, so I depend on my officers a lot to try to help me out,” Dodd said.
Dodd receives phone calls all the time regarding abandoned animals by Native Americans. In those situations Dodd will try to locate the owner to claim their animal. Since the McGirt decision, he has been dealing with that issue more frequently. “Now we have a lot of counties that are not cross deputized so we get the phone call, like they are owned by a Native so we need you all to come out,” Dodd said.
Dodd does not only handle abandoned dog cases. He has also seen abandoned cattle, cats and horses. If they are on tribal land, Dodd can take on the case. These cases become costly if they involve larger animals.
The abandoned horses and cattle that have been taken in are currently being held by a tribal citizen. Lighthorse pays that citizen for lodging and care. Lighthorse does weekly checkups to make sure they are being taken care of properly. Dodd also lives in close proximity to the animals which allows him to drop by frequently.
Currently MCN Lighthorse Chief of Police Richard Phillips and MCN Principal Chief Hill are working on getting funding for an area of land where a shelter can be built for abandoned animals recovered within the nation. According to Dodd, this will open jobs for citizens.
Dodd is the game warden for the nation as well, this role is in addition to his duties as an animal control specialist. According to Dodd, once there is a program available to recover abandoned animals it will allow the nation to better tackle the issue.
Dodd stated that when they recover an abandoned animal, if they are only intended to be a pet it will be spayed and neutered. One problem he has noticed is how some people who adopt animals will give them away once they grow bigger. “When you take responsibility for an animal it’s a big responsibility. Some people need to think about it twice before doing it,” Dodd said.
“The populations of dogs and cats is getting out of hand, especially in all these towns and there are rescue places like Oklahoma Humane Society or there’s a humane society in Okmulgee,” Dodd said. “Phone call these people and you can drop your dog off there and they will adopt them off for you, instead of turning them loose.”
According to Dodd, there are several other humane societies located throughout the reservation and the state.
For those interested in adopting any of the puppies in this story, contact the Alta Vista Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge at 918-576-6496, or call MCN at 918-732-7800. There is no adoption fee, all citizens are welcomed to consider the option of adopting.