Rescued U-Haul dogs coming to Vail Valley |

Rescued U-Haul dogs coming to Vail Valley

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
AP Photo/Alan Spearman
AP | The Commercial Appeal

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – After news broke that 144 dogs and 1 cat were rescued from a U-Haul truck in Tennessee last week, Eagle County Humane Society Executive Director Char Quinn was quickly en route to Memphis to care for the animals as part of the American Humane Association’s Red Star emergency team.

Quinn is heading back to the valley tonight with one dog in tow, and another 20 or so will be here by the end of next week. All of the dogs will be available for adoption.

Since Quinn arrived in Memphis, her days have been busy, yet fulfilling. She wakes up early with the other dozen team members to feed the dogs and fill their water bowls.

The team then walks the dogs and cleans their cages, which takes as long as 3 1/2 hours for 12 people to accomplish because of so many dogs.

Then at lunch time, the dogs nap while the team eats, and then they start the process all over again in the afternoon.

“It has worked very well for the dogs,” Quinn said. “After a couple of days, they get the routine figured out.”

The dogs were found packed four or five to a crate and were “living in squalor,” according to the American Humane Association. News reports have said the two women transporting the dogs, Bonnie Sherman and Pamela King-McCracken, owned an animal rescue operation in California and were traveling to Virginia. They have been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and are being held on $100,000 bond.

The first Red Star team to arrive trained about 12 new Red Star team members Thursday to transition them into the work, which Quinn said is exhausting. The first team, which Quinn was a part of, saw dogs who had been through some serious trauma. Some of the animals are still “freaked out,” Quinn said.

“These dogs were very neglected, obviously prior to even being put in the U-Haul,” she said.

The dogs are all small breeds, with many mixed breeds including terriers, Lhasa Apsos, poodles and dachshunds. One Chihuahua is still so freaked out from the ordeal – reports say the dogs had no food or water and no ventilation in the truck for several days – that he still hasn’t calmed down. Quinn is bringing him to Eagle County and hopes getting him away from the temporarily shelter environment will help him improve.

“They’re really nice dogs,” Quinn said. “They’ll be able to find homes, no problem.”

One dog Quinn has been caring for was initially so scared that she couldn’t put medication into his eyes without putting a muzzle on him, but after a few days the dog warmed up to her and now they’re buddies, she said.

“A lot of them are that way – we’ve seen improvements in some of the freaked out ones where we can touch them now,” Quinn said.

The Red Star volunteers have been working 10-12 hours a day at the temporary shelter and as the second team transitions in, the work has begun to try to find homes for the animals.

The lone cat, which volunteers named Token, has already found a home and is expected to be spayed in the coming days. Plans for finding homes for more than 140 dogs, however, are more difficult.

Quinn said 30 of the dogs will be heading to a humane society in Boston, and about 20 will be coming to Eagle County.

“If people are interesting in adopting, fostering or donating, go to our website,” Quinn said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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