Number of chihuahuas dumped in Branson area keeps growing

Dogs have been dumped at various locations around Branson and animal control is being...
Dogs have been dumped at various locations around Branson and animal control is being stretched to round them up and house them.(KY3)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 8:01 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Calling animal control to come out and get a stray dog is not unusual. b

But over the last several days in the Branson area there has been a strange occurrence going on involving strays and it’s causing officials there to scramble.

Someone has been dumping chihuahuas at various locations ranging from downtown Branson to Reeds Spring to Branson West to Ridgedale, causing a lot of problems for animal control officers who are trying to round them up and find a place to keep them.

Various groups have been involved in the effort, but Taney County’s Animal Control in Hollister, Mo. has taken on the largest number of dogs with 27 chihuahuas housed in a second-floor area normally reserved for cats.

On Wednesday several people showed up at the facility to bring food or volunteer to help care for the new arrivals.

Barb Taylor was asked what made her decide to volunteer as she washed dog bowls in a sink.

“The chihuahuas,” she replied, shaking her head. “That’s so sad and to have that on top of all the other animals (already here). I know they needed some help.”

Shelley Kleypas also came by to see what she could do.

“I read on Facebook that they were finding chihuahuas spread out all over Branson,” she said. “I’ve always been an animal advocate and both cats and dogs need people’s help. People hurt them but there’s a lot of people who want to help them. It does break your heart but I can’t say I’m surprised to see something like this happen.”

Sherry Simpson, the Manager of Taney County Animal Control, is certainly used to seeing terrible treatment of animals but even she was surprised as the calls kept coming in about abandoned chihuahuas being found in different places.

“The Welk Resort area is probably the epicenter,” she said. “That is where the majority of them were found. I worked the Joplin tornado where we had masses of dogs but no, this is the first time we have experienced this and it’s disheartening because they’re actually not bad dogs. They’re just all really scared right now.”

Simpson suspects that it’s a dog breeder that’s been doing the dumping.

“We’re seeing six-month-and-older dogs and the majority of them are male,” she reasoned. “Very few are females. There’s backyard breeders who are not licensed. It could be a situation like that. It could be someone that’s lost their home and these were all dogs that lived with them.”

Right now there are more chihuahuas showing up every day and it’s an overwhelming situation for area agencies.

“This morning we received a call that there were at least 8-10 down at the state line,” Simpson said. “It was actually a mail lady who found them near a Rapid Roberts. Between her and I we got six. We’ve got 27 here (at the animal control facility) now and we’re going to need people to help with the cleaning and the caring for these animals. We have other animals here as well so this just adds more work. We could just use people to walk dogs. If they’d rather donate we can use dog food and puppy pads.”

Simpson said overall most of the dogs are doing well.

“They have been healthy other than covered in ticks but that may be from running for we don’t know how long,” she said.

The dogs will be fostered and adopted out through area rescues and humane societies when they are ready.

“So the plan is we already have rescues stepping up to take them and a lot of them are local like Rescue One and HFLCS, For the Love of Canines and Shepherd of the Hills,” Simpson said. “We’ve also got some out of the area as St. Louis rescue has agreed to take some. We’re not going to be adopting them out of here because they do have socialization work that needs to be done with them. None of them appear to be house-trained in any way. But as they go out we will post (on Taney County Animal Control’s Facebook) which rescue has them.”

Simpson did point out that the dogs will be on a 7-10 day stray hold before they go out and Branson police are investigating the matter with animal neglect a possible charge.

“The tricky part is going to be tying these dogs all together and that may be why they were all put in separate areas,” Simpson said.

The volunteers are just doing their best to put a brave face on a sad situation.

“I encourage everyone to adopt,” Kleypas said. “If you get one chihuahua you might as well get two!”

“It’s just totally ridiculous that somebody would be that cruel to poor defenseless animals,” Taylor said. “Let’s find them good homes.”

Once again you can check the Taney County Animal Control Facebook for updates on which rescue or humane society the dogs are being sent to but it will at least a week before the chihuahuas at the animal control facility will be eligible for foster care or adoption.

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