Demonstrators protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline who cleared out of their makeshift camp last week abandoned several of their dogs to fend for themselves.
Authorities evicted several hundred Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from the Oceti Sakowin camp, where they had been living. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which opposes the pipeline project, also asked the activists to leave, feeling they would be in a better position to negotiate with the Army Corps of Engineers without an ongoing demonstration.
The protesters packed up their belongings to go but left more than trash; they also left several dogs and puppies at the camp, local NBC affiliate KFYR reported over the weekend.
The group Furry Friends Rockin Rescue, a local animal rescue Bismark, North Dakota, found and rescued two abandoned dogs and six puppies at the camp site.
More than a dozen abandoned dogs at the protest site do not have permanent homes and an estimated 20 dogs are left at the site, according to MyNDNow.com.
Furry Friends is still working hard to locate these dogs and place them in good homes.
"Extremely sad being these guys were left behind. But we offer, Furry Friends offers hope. I mean there's so much hope within Furry Friends as far as these puppies finding homes," said Tiffany Hardy, a Furry Friends volunteer. "If we can offer them luck and offer them a home, we're going to try and find that for them."
"It's a collaborative effort for everybody. We thank our law enforcement and all the people helping clean the site up," said Julie Schirado, founder of Furry Friends.
She noted that some of the dogs have frost bite, wounded paws, signs of hypothermia, and other potential ailments.
"We don't know if they have parvo distemper from what they might be eating or feeding. If they don't get fed properly," she said.
"We have a couple cases of mange, we might have had some, I know we've had some problems with claws that haven't been clipped before," Hardy added.
One problem is that the protesters left the camp behind so full of garbage that it is difficult to locate the dogs.
"It's a mess down there, so it's really, really hard to find these animals and get them," Schirado said.
Another difficulty is that loud machinery is being used in the cleanup effort, making it hard to catch the dogs.
Authorities are trying to clear the camp of debris before it fills with water and garbage leaks into the tribe's water supply, Heat Street noted.
Still, Furry Friends is hard at work to locate each abandoned dog and make sure they are cared for and healthy.
"If they stay with us, we help them find their fur-ever home. If somebody has left the dog behind and they're looking for that dog, we hope they'll contact us so we can help them find their dog," Schirado said.
Those interested in helping can go to furryfriendsrockinrescue.org to donate items. The organization is looking for food, blankets, and money to help pay for vet bills.