Abandoned pups move from trash can to the spotlight in Colorado Springs

July 18, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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photo - Animal Law Enforcement Officer Caitlyn Cahill holds one of four puppies, who were just days old when they were rescued from a trash can in Highlands Ranch, during their eight week pre-adoption check-up at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region Thursday, July 18, 2013. Cahill took in the dogs as foster pets and helps raise them before they are eligible for adoption. Because of the increased interest in the long-haired, small breed mix puppies, HSPPR has set up an adoption application online that can be found under the "What's New" tab on www.hsppr.org. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Animal Law Enforcement Officer Caitlyn Cahill holds one of four puppies, who were just days old when they were rescued from a trash can in Highlands Ranch, during their eight week pre-adoption check-up at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region Thursday, July 18, 2013. Cahill took in the dogs as foster pets and helps raise them before they are eligible for adoption. Because of the increased interest in the long-haired, small breed mix puppies, HSPPR has set up an adoption application online that can be found under the "What's New" tab on www.hsppr.org. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette 

Four abandoned puppies found in a trash can made their grand appearance Thursday for their eight-week checkups at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region on Abbot Lane.

The doggy siblings wiggled, nibbled and piddled as reporters gathered to photograph the celebrities, who have become quite famous. Scores of people want to adopt them.

It all started May 21 when Douglas County Animal Law Enforcement officers were called to Highland Heritage Regional Park in Highlands Ranch by workers who had found five puppies in a trash can near a restroom. One of the animals was dead.

The days-old animals were taken to a veterinary clinic where they were treated for low body temperature, then placed in a foster home. They were bottle-fed, and were superstitiously named after scrappy characters to help their chances - Bridgette, Brutus, Lilo and Gus-Gus. They are a long-haired small breed, maybe of shih tzu and Llasa Apso pedigree.

On Thursday, Humane Society staff veterinarian Nicole Putney checked their ears, teeth, heart, and weight and pronounced them all healthy. They were then spayed or neutered.

Authorities have been investigating the trash can puppy case. There were several leads, but so far there are no suspects, said Joe Stafford, Humane Society animal enforcement director. This type of abuse, because it included the death of one of the animals, is considered a felony, which could mean a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail.

The puppies are so popular that there will be a random drawing for their adoption. On Wednesday, alone, the Humane Society had 20 calls about the dogs.

To get an application and directions for entering the drawing, visit hsppr.org and click on "what's new." The staff will begin reviewing the applications Monday and should have winners by Thursday. Only forms that are completely filled out will be considered for the drawing.

Among the questions: what experience do you have raising puppies? What would a day in the life of this puppy look like in your household? Why do you want this puppy?

They cost $500 each. Gretchen Pressley, Humane Society spokeswoman, said they were priced more than most other dogs at the shelter so that they can leave a legacy for other animals in need of care at the facility.

All this attention on the puppies is a double-edged sword, she said, because there is a shelter full of other worthy adoptees.

Away from all the "aren't they cute" exclamations and flashing cameras pointed at the celebrity pups, there were cage after cage of homeless dogs.

Valentino, a 10-year-old St. Bernard mix, eagerly looked at passersby with big dark take- me-home eyes. His card said he likes walks and will chase cats.

Nearby, Hector, a three- year-old Chihuahua who had survived a respiratory infection, was looking dapper. Maya, a five- year- old miniature poodle who is blind in one eye, jumped in excitement when she got attention. Indiana, a pit bull and Australian cattle dog mix, was politely sitting on her bed. Her card says she is playful and loves to sit on laps.

These dogs are members of what the Humane Society calls the "Lonely Hearts Club" because they have been at the shelter for more than three weeks and have yet to find homes.

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Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw

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