An Eastern Oregon man has been accused of allowing about 200 dogs to roam freely on a sagebrush flat, living in pens, house trailers and crates, and scrapping over a daily bag of kibble.
PORTLAND — An Eastern Oregon man has been accused of allowing about 200 dogs to roam freely on a sagebrush flat, living in pens, house trailers and crates, and scrapping over a daily bag of kibble.
Most of the dogs have been confiscated in what the Oregon Human Society calls one of largest rescues in the state's history.
Trucks carrying 130 dogs were on the road from Burns to Portland on Friday and will return to get about 70 more.
Sheriff David Glerup said the dogs' owner, Ted Tellefson, 57, was charged with animal neglect and agreed to surrender most of them to avoid further charges. He can keep 20 older dogs he's had for years but must let Humane Society representatives inspect his property.
"He's marking those 20 with orange paint," Glerup said.
If Tellefson abides by the agreement, the charge may be dropped, he said.
Glerup said Tellefson has diabetes and other health problems that make it difficult to care for the animals.
The Humane Society says most of the dogs appear to be in general good health, but many were roaming freely on the rural property a few miles from Burns.
"It's the survival of the fittest. Some could use some medical attention," Glerup said.
"He'd just put out a bag of food a day" and let the dogs compete for it, said Barbara Baugnon, who was at the site for the Humane Society. "Some are well fed, some are very, very skinny."
Tellefson, who has no listed phone, could not be reached for comment.
The dogs are being vaccinated on site and will get medical checkups in Portland.
The Humane Society said the dogs were of various ages and breeds.
The dogs were being transported in a convoy of cargo vans and horse trailers.
A 14-member OHS rescue team worked with Harney County deputies and two members of the Humane Society of the United States.
The dogs eventually will be available for adoption.
David Lytle of the Oregon Humane Society said one person could possibly have 200 dogs and not be charged with neglect if each animal was cared for properly. "But this is just one guy," he said.
Lytle described Tellefson's place as large flat expanse of sagebrush-covered desert dotted with pens and trailers. "I wouldn't exactly call it a ranch," he said.
"When some of the dogs left the property and ran loose he would chain them to a post so they wouldn't run loose again," he said.