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Project Malamute

Author: Lindsay Rapp | Date: May 1, 2013

This story made headlines a little while ago, but Malamutes are still looking for their forever homes.

In October 2011, breeder Mike Chilinski was caught with severely neglected Malamutes at his home in Helena, Montana. He had adults, puppies and many pregnant females. The local Lewis & Clark Humane Society was assisted by The American Humane Society in the seizure of over 160 Malamutes from his property that were in very bad condition.

All of the dogs were malnourished, as they probably hadn’t seen food in months.

The average size of a Malamute is 80-100 pounds. Many of these dogs were found weighing just 30 pounds.

They had no human contact or socialization.

Once the Humane Society got them transported to their facility, they addressed the dogs’ health concerns, groomed, fed, spayed or neutered and personally worked one-on-one with each dog. Many dogs had to have surgery to remove objects in their stomachs that they had ingested. Others had tumors and infections, even parts of their ears missing, probably due to fights over limited amounts of food.

After lots of TLC, these dogs started to come out of their shells and started building bonds and relationships with the workers. In the year and a half since the seizure, the majority of the dogs have been put in foster homes while they wait for their forever homes.

I recently got to meet two of these Malamutes who are now in the state of Illinois.

They are very small, since they were malnourished during their key growth periods. But they are filling out, and their foster mom is working very hard at getting them acclimated to the world.

If you are interested in adopting one of these 160 dogs, you can get more info here. You can also sign up to volunteer or donate to the Humane Society. So far, they have spent over $500,000 on Project Malamute.

AnimalSense has a very personal tie to this project.

Our Director of Operations Andrea Miller‘s sister, Dr. Jillian Dougherty, was one of the veterinarians on scene during the seizure who treated the animals and testified in court against Chilinski which helped in his conviction of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison, to forfeit all the rescued dogs and barred from owning animals for 30 years. You can see Dr. Dougherty and all of the other courageous people that helped in the Montana Malamute Rescue in this video:

Adele monkeyDr. Dougherty and her husband adopted one of the puppies born after the seizure. Adele has grown into a happy, healthy and very lucky dog. Malamute lovers from all over the world have come to these dogs’ rescue in the form of donations, volunteering their time and opening up their homes for fostering and adoption. What can you do to help?

What began as a heartbreaking story has resulted in triumph for animal rescue!








    1. […] Some of the first lucky tenants are the Malamutes from the Montana puppy mill case that my colleague Lindsay reported on in her recent blog. […]

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