Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office: Sheep dogs in remote areas should be left alone

Rock Springs– The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an advisory Tuesday concerning sheep dogs and their puppies.

A Rock Springs woman recently came upon seven Great Pyrenees puppies in the bottom of a gulch in a remote area south of the city and took them home, fearing that they had been abandoned.

“They weren’t abandoned,” said Sheriff Rich Haskell. “The litter belongs to a working sheep dog. She either had her pups right there or had moved them there. It’s a common thing for them to do; it would be hard for pups that small to escape from that spot, so Mom could be confident they would be there when she returned.”

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The pups were reported to the Sheriff’s Office, and Animal Control Officers Chris Thomas and Tracy Hafner, working with Eddie Lopez, the Sheriff’s Office livestock range officer, determined that the pups’ mother was from one of the sheep camps operated by Raftopoulos Brothers Livestock, headquartered in Craig, Colorado.

As of this writing, Thomas and Lopez are arranging for mother and pups to be reunited.

Thomas, pictured here with the seven pups, estimates they are about a month old. “They’re small now,” she said, “but a full-grown Great Pyrenees male can weigh 120 pounds.”

“This is a recurring problem out in the county,” said Haskell. “Large dogs, often Great Pyrenees, which are commonly used by sheep operations, are found a long way from residential or business areas by people who think they’ve been dumped, but frequently they’re working sheep dogs.”

Thomas explained that problems often arise. “People pick these dogs up and bring them in with the best of intentions, but once they’ve been removed from their working environment for any amount of time, they often lose their working skills. And, like in this instance, females may have litters of pups hidden somewhere.”

Officials ask that people encountering large dogs in remote areas not pick them up, but note the location and notify the Sheriff’s Office.

– Provided by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office