Authorities in Minneapolis have uncovered a hoarding case involving a breed of dog known for its mammoth size, and now they are on a mission to find good homes for the animals.
Seven Great Danes were living in "filthy conditions and ... had very little socialization and care" in a home, said city spokesman Matt Lindstrom.
The dogs' owner surrendered them to the city's Animal Care and Control, which placed two puppies in new homes and began handing over the other five -- all adults -- to a rescue organization in two stages starting Monday.
"They are wonderful dogs, but they are big dogs," said Ann Heinrich, whose Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin took in three of the dogs Monday and will return for the other two Wednesday.
Danes are considered the world's tallest breed, standing more than 3 feet tall from paw to shoulder and weighing at least 100 pounds by adulthood. It's the size of the five dogs that requires Heinrich to make two trips for the handoff.
Even though the dogs' owner cooperated with Animal Control, "this case is still under investigation for possible animal cruelty" charges, Lindstrom said.
Photos taken two weeks ago and released by the city show a thoroughly trashed living room and filth surrounding a kiddie swimming pool made into a dog's bed.
In light of this case, Animal Care and Control officials said in a statement that a residence with a large number of animals is "not a healthy environment for the people or the pets."
Heinrich said some owners don't realize the expense of keeping a Dane well fed and in good health.
Also, some people welcome a Great Dane to their home only to find out later that "they can't take living outside," Heinrich said. "They are strictly house dogs. They have no hair for the wintertime to keep them warm."
The five being taken in this week brings Heinrich's total to 15 awaiting placement by her organization in Siren, Wis.
Some of them are in foster homes as they await adoption. The others live with Heinrich, who has been involved with caring for Great Danes for 40 years, the past five running the rescue organization.
"Some of the dogs will live out their lives with me," she said. "We've got one dog we've had for over a year waiting for adoption."
For more information about Heinrich's agency, visit gdromn.org.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482