Puppy Love: Woman Rescues 27 Dogs From Calif. Shelter

"I couldn't leave these dogs to die."

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008  |  Updated 10:54 AM PDT
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Puppy Love: Woman Rescues 27 Dogs From Calif. Shelter

Reno-Gazette Journal

Spalioni said her heart took over when she got to the shelter and she brought home 27 dogs, including 10 Chihuahua mixes, one purebred Chihuahua, a Jack Russell, a poodle, two shepherd mixes, two miniature pinschers and an Australian cattle dog mix.


A Spanish Springs woman who went to a California dog pound looking for pet to replace her own dog that was hit by a car admits she went overboard when she brought home 27 dogs that were facing euthanasia.

But she didn't expect to run afoul of the law.

"I didn't realize I was going to be in so much trouble or that so many people would be so angry at what I did," Colleen Spalioni told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Monday. "But after I lost my dog who gave me so much unconditional love, I couldn't leave these dogs to die."

Spalioni said she was trying to find another dog who looked like Barney, her 2-year-old pointer that was struck and killed by a car in November.

Browsing DogsinDanger.com, a Web site that posts photos of dogs in shelters and the number of days until they are euthanized, she found what she was looking for at shelter in Delano, Calif., outside Bakersfield.

But when she arrived, her heart took over, and she ended up bringing home 27 dogs that were about to be killed, including 10 Chihuahua mixes, one purebred Chihuahua, a Jack Russell, a poodle, two shepherd mixes, two miniature pinschers and an Australian cattle dog mix.

"I didn't realize so many animals were dying every day until I saw it with my own eyes," she said.

She said animal control officers helped her and her traveling companion load the dogs in her pickup. Some fit in the cab, the others rode in the truck bed with a down blanket and a tarp over the top.

But once home, neighbors complained of the barking, and she was told local ordinance prohibits more than three dogs per household.

Crying, she told the Reno-Gazette-Journal, “I didn’t realize I was going to be in so much trouble or that so many people would be so angry at what I did. But after I lost my dog who gave me so much unconditional love, I couldn’t leave these dogs to die.”

After her story was posted on a newspaper blog, Spalioni said she had found homes for all but four of the dogs as of Monday.

She's hopes to find homes for the remaining dogs before her husband, who is out of town, returns home Wednesday.

"I learned my lesson. I promise I won't do this again," Spalioni said.

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