Animals from trailer crash surrendered to HSO
Ever since taking in about two dozen rescued animals from a trailer crash last month, the Humane Society of the Ochocos has faced substantial burdens.
The shelter found itself suddenly housing an additional 38 cats, 10 dogs and a rabbit following a truck and trailer rollover wreck on Oct. 10 near Ochoco Reservoir. Prineville man Thomas Misik, 60, was driving a pickup towing a 29-foot-long travel trailer when the trailer began to sway due to improper weight distribution. The swaying caused the trailer to leave the road and plunge down a steep embankment, pulling the truck with it.
One passenger, 53-year-old Prineville woman Dorothy Misik, was inside the travel trailer, and another, 20-year-old Prineville man Dusten Misik, was riding in the passenger seat of the truck. Both passengers were injured during the crash and taken by ambulance to St. Charles Prineville for medical treatment.
While responding to the crash, authorities found more than 50 animals inside the trailer, prompting Humane Society of the Ochocos and the Pet Evacuation Team to spend the next few days rescuing them.
According to Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting, Thomas and Dorothy Misik were cited on suspicion of second-degree animal neglect, a Class C felony. The citation has a Dec. 16 arraignment date.
Since the crash and subsequent rescue, the Humane Society has had to care for all the animals, many of which were in very poor health. The shelter population has doubled, and between medication expenses and pet food costs, the Humane Society has taken on at least $10,000 in additional expenses.
"It is very costly because all the animals have been sick, so we have been trying to get them healthy," said Humane Society Executive Director Heather O'Daniel. She went on to note that some of the cats still have respiratory or eye infections, and some are still being treated for ear mites.
The shelter also faces space issues. Adding so many animals has forced the Humane Society staff to turn away people who want to surrender animals to the shelter. Compounding the problem, many of the rescued cats are pregnant and about to give birth.
Desperate to find room for all the animals, O'Daniel had recently reached out to the Crook County Fairgrounds to see if any buildings were available for rent. Then, finally, she got some good news.
"That same day, I received a phone call from the state trooper who is working the case," she said, "and he was able to make contact with the owners, and they had agreed to surrender most of the animals."
The Misiks agreed to surrender all but five dogs, meaning that the Humane Society is free to adopt most of the animals out. O'Daniel hopes the owners will eventually decide to surrender the rest of the animals.
"They don't have the means to take care of these animals," she said.
While relief is in sight for the Humane Society, adoption will likely have to wait for another month or two. The shelter staff has to get the animals healthy enough to adopt, then spay and neuter them.
"They are still receiving treatment and medication," O'Daniel said. "You have to slowly bring them up and provide them with vitamins and proper nutrition."
And as that process continues, O'Daniel is quick to praise the organizations and individuals who have helped the Humane Society handle the sudden influx of animals. She stressed that many community volunteers have helped the shelter staff feed, medicate and clean the animals, and added that the Pet Evacuation Team has been a huge help.
"We couldn't have done what we are doing without them," she said.
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