13 Investigates


Rescued Pomeranians not a good fit for some families

One auctioned dog returned for snapping at family
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:35-05

One aborted adoption, one vicious fight and one pregnant mother who had to be put down.  

The Animal Foundation says those are pretty good statistics considering the number of dogs and the trauma they endured.

Since the early morning of November 30, when the crated dogs were rescued near Sandy Valley from a U-Haul truck with no food, water or ventilation, the Animal Foundation has been trying to find them forever homes.

"These are puppy mill dogs," said Gina Greisen, whose animal welfare group Nevada Voters for Animals led authorities to the truck. "These are dogs that are unsocialized, they're untrained, they're not potty-trained."

The Animal Foundation says 111 of the dogs have been adopted and most of the rest are in that process.  

Five were auctioned off at the December 18 "Pucks for Paws" event with the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Adoption screening discussions were held that same day in a private area in City National Arena immediately following the auction.

Same for the other ten dogs that were adopted that day.

For the rest, those screenings were conducted at the Animal Foundation's everyday adoption center at the Petsmart in Henderson on January 7, 8 and 9. 

"So then you're just gonna take these dogs and just be like, well, we're gonna do our normal vetting process. We've already seen that the very first day that already didn't work," Greisen said.

Families may be taking on more than they bargained for.  

The Animal Foundation confirms that one of the auctioned dogs was returned to the shelter the same day after snapping at one of the family members who adopted her.  

A shelter spokeswoman says no one was hurt, but cautions that all of the rescued dogs need a lot of socializing, time and patience in order to feel comfortable with their new families.

Greisen says they should never have been auctioned off in the first place--but instead placed in foster homes through rescue partners to be properly socialized and trained before being adopted to families.

"I guess time will tell. We'll see if these dogs end up coming back, if these dogs end up in rescue, if these dogs end up flipped on Craigslist."

13 Action News also learned one pregnant mother dog was euthanized as a result of complications giving birth.  

And two dogs who'd been housed together without incident at the shelter, suddenly got into a fight.

One is still recovering in foster care and the other was sent to a rescue organization.


1) The Animal Foundation can confirm that one of the rescued Pomeranians, found to be pregnant and placed in foster care in lieu of being made available for immediate adoption, was humanely euthanized as a result of a complications experienced in giving birth. The dog had received prenatal medical care at one of our full-service veterinary partners, and as soon as complications arose, she was rushed to an independent medical care facility, where she received emergency, after-hours medical care. Unfortunately, she did not respond to aggressive treatment, and after all medical options were exhausted, it was mutually determined by all parties that the only remaining option was humane euthanasia. The first two puppies born to this mother are in foster care and doing well. Unfortunately, a third puppy was stillborn.

2) We can confirm that one dog was returned without the opportunity to be properly acclimated into the new adoptive home. In fact, the adoptive family had not yet arrived home with the dog before determining this dog’s needs were beyond what they could provide. We are thankful they recognized this and reached out to us for assistance. It is our understanding that the dog snapped at one of the family members but this did not result in injury. All of these rescued dogs need a lot of socializing, time and patience in order to feel comfortable with their new families. As an aside, each potential adopter is provided with a complete history of the animal as we know it during the adoption process.

3) We can confirm that two of the rescued Pomeranians, housed together in the same kennel without incident for more than three weeks after they arrived at the shelter, were engaged in an altercation a few weeks ago. One dog was injured and was treated at one of our full-service veterinary partner clinics for wounds sustained in the altercation. He is finishing his recovery in foster care and is expected to make a full recovery. The other dog is now in the care of a rescue partner organization.

Of the 164 rescued dogs, one was humanely euthanized, as per above.

There have been two stillborn puppies.

Five were found to be pregnant.

111 have been adopted and 30 are pending adoption process completion.

One was transferred to a rescue partner organization (per #2 above) and 20 are in various stages of foster and transfer to rescue partner.

One dog is being held on bond by owner as allowed under Clark County code.

Only one dog has been returned to date, as per above.

88 of the rescued Poms were female and 76 male.

Primarily, our behavior evaluations are designed to tell us if we believe the dog is a safety threat and if they can be safely handled and placed for adoption while in our care. Each of these animals passed that evaluation. Beyond that, our records simply note whether an animal is exhibiting a specific behavior, about which we believe may be helpful to a specific adopter, i.e., timid; excitable; fearful; social, etc. Neither we, nor anyone else, can make guarantees to adopters regarding an animal’s temperament, because animals behave differently in homes than they do in the shelter.

Our adoption process is based on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “Adopters Welcome” approach. Below is an excerpt pulled directly from HSUS’s website.

"Finding a loving and happy home for every animal waiting to start a new life—that’s the goal of everyone who works in sheltering and rescue. Examining our adoption policies to ensure they are based on current knowledge--and not good-intentioned, but mistaken, beliefs--is crucial to achieving our goal. Adopters Welcomechallenges us to change the way we approach potential adopters.

Rather than look for ways to disqualify them from taking home a pet (Do they have a fenced yard? Does their landlord approve?), let's find ways to send them home with a pet by engaging in conversation and providing information and resources.”

At TAF, our adoption process is a discussion where we seek to learn about the potential adopter, their family, and lifestyle with the goal of helping them decide which animal is a great match and providing information and support to improve the chance of the adoption’s success. This approach provides a welcoming, non judgemental experience to families who consider adoption and encourages more people to consider adoption when looking to add a pet to their family. 

"By replacing traditional screening with Adopters Welcome-style conversation and open-ended questions, you remove the 'yes/no' questions and create opportunities for open, honest dialogue with adopters.” 

This approach does not mean we cannot and will not deny adoptions. We will not allow an animal’s welfare to be compromised.

13 Investigates - Send us a tip
Do you have a story idea or tip for 13 Investigates? Fill out the form below.
Are you willing to go on camera?