Two Quay County residents are looking for homes for a number of dogs under their care.
Frank William Coles and Dorene Clark currently have 17 stray dogs living in their front yard. Coles and Clark said dogs are frequently dropped off on their county road by previous owners. Clark and Coles provide food and water to the dogs, but Coles said the dogs are currently costing them $300 per month or more in expenses. Coles said he and Clark rely on government disability checks for income.
One of their dogs needs to be de-wormed, but Coles said he could not yet afford the needed supplies.
“There’s not much to go around,” Coles said. “I'm waiting till the first of the month to get my money.”
The couple refuses to give the dogs to the local animal shelter because they do not want the dogs euthanized.
Clark said the couple previously gave puppies living in their house to local volunteer Christina Fleming, who was able to take the puppies to Colorado Puppy Rescue, an organization that takes in puppies to be adopted. The organization does not take adult dogs.
Quay County Sheriff Joe Schallert said abandoning an animal qualifies as animal cruelty under state law, a crime that in severe or repeat cases can be a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“Neglect, abuse, abandon. It all falls under animal cruelty, which can either be a misdemeanor or as high as a felony. I have not seen it lately, but throughout the 21 years I’ve been here ... I recall several events of people abandoning animals in the county,” Schallert said.
Schallert said the Sheriff’s department serves as the main animal control agency of Quay County, responding to animal calls outside the city limits.
“We have a working relationship with the animal control officer of the city and with the city’s permission we have them come out and pick up the animal if need be,” Schallert said.
Schallert said he was not aware of any laws limiting the number of dogs or cats a person can own in Quay County outside of the Tucumcari city limits. Tucumcari Municipal Code limits households in the city to three dogs and three cats.
Clark said her main concern was the welfare of the dogs she has taken in.
“I want them to be able to take care of them and have a place for them and be able to feed them,” Clark said. “I'd like to find homes for them, because, yeah, there's a lot of them. Like Baby would be a real good dog, and she just needs a feeding out and somebody to love her.”
Persons interested in adopting Coles’ and Clark’s dogs can contact them through the Quay County Sun at 461-1952.