Puppies Rescued After Being Dumped Along I-35

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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa -- An Iowa couple is being credited for saving three puppies that were left for dead along the interstate.

The couple spotted the trio in the center median along Interstate 35 near the Minnesota border. After rescuing them, the couple took the puppies to Patriots for Pets Rescue and Shelter in Clear Lake.

“Very, very shy puppies. You could tell they hadn't been interacting with people before, so we got them cleaned up, gave them their puppy shots, started worming them, there was no doubt they had worms, so we did all our standard intake protocol on them,” said Debbie Kern, a shelter volunteer and board member .

Kern said she posted a message on Facebook, hoping to find out what happened to the puppies and got a surprise response.

“Yesterday, we got a phone call from a lady who wouldn't identify herself by name, but said she was the owner of the dogs and it was her intent that they should have died on the freeway.”

The owner told Kern there were nine puppies in the litter and the rest were either attacked by coyotes or killed in her pig pen.

“She said if she knew the gold one was going to attract attention she would have just shot it and then the other two could have got run over and people would have thought they were skunks because they were black and white,” Kern said.

Kern said the owner wanted the dogs back, but she refused knowing the fate they could face. “One look at their face and there was no way we were going to let her take them back and kill them.”

Kern said unfortunately this isn't that uncommon as animal cruelty laws in Iowa don't protect animals from irresponsible owners. “Unfortunately with rescue sometimes you see the worst that humanity has to offer,” Kern said.

The dogs, named Baxter, Bessie and Bali, are on the mend and learning how to be puppies again.

“Hopefully find them awesome forever homes, where they'll be loved members of the family and not treated like trash.” Kern believes the puppies are about 10 weeks old and are a mix between Newfoundland and a Golden Retriever.

The puppies will spend the next several weeks in foster care before the shelter will put them up for adoption.

More information on the puppies and how you can donate to the shelter can be found by visiting Patriots for Pets Rescue & Shelter's website or by visiting their Facebook page.


  • Mike Cee

    I sincerely hope there is a special place in the netherworld for someone who would dump puppies like that.

    And I sincerely hope there is a special place in Heaven for the people that saved them.

    • Karl

      Sadly both places are mythical, but who knows, (she) may still find some punishment while alive. If she called, there is always a chance that can be traced depending on type of service that was used.

  • ervserver

    doesn’t make any sense. loser farm folks typically just shoot the dogs or let the hogs/coyotes finish them off. Why take the time to haul em to I35.

    • Lottie

      I don’t know where you get your info, but “farm folks” don’t typically shoot their dogs! I come from a LARGE family of farmers. We love our pets!

  • commonsenselost

    Hope this heartless twit suffer the same fate as the unlucky puppies. If you don’t want the pups, give them up at the local shelters. There are plenty of people who are willing to give them good homes.

  • Betsy Fickel

    What an incredulous story!!!!! Seems to be a proliferation of stories through out the nation of kittens and puppies found in trash bags, trash cans, dumpsters. All in excellent condition and ready or nearly ready for sale.

    Incredulous that someone that did not want the pups would call claiming to have wanted them to die. BUT, then allegedly said she wanted the pups back??? Really? Incredulous!

    True, anti cruelty laws will not protect animals from irresponsible owners. Period. If an owner wants to blatantly disregard the law, they will do so. So, please, anyone explain specifically HOW stronger/harsher laws are going to stop someone intent on breaking the law? Just look at all the laws about different crimes and how harsh they are? Anyone see any of those crimes cease to be? Waiting. Didn’t think so. Delusional thinking that these types of things will cease if only…….

    Anyone care to say how exactly it is that these three pups have to learn how to be puppies again???? Stand her ground protecting the pups? My how melodramatic!

    How many people will believe this story at face value and not bother one whit to do a bit of common sense questioning? All there is to go on is yet again a one sided version so anything can be tossed out as “fact.” So anyone any more do any critical thinking???

    • Ruby

      I say dog doodoo…
      No one would bother driving em anywhere if they had already tossed other pups into the pig pen.
      How very disturbed this story teller is. Omfd that is scary that someone can go this far outta the why to come up with such a story. But it sure does get donations flying in.

      FUNNY how every week there seems to be more puppies 8-10 weeks old sitting in a box by a dumpster. Or in a bag in the dumpster. Or wherever else these stammer THINK YOU Will fall for. Wow.
      They say *a fool & their money are soon parted…

    • Phyl Broich Wessling

      Betsy Fickel…so lets put your comment in a nut shell… what you are trying to share? is it if more anti cruelty animals laws to be passed that will not help? So you believe people will do what they want to do regardless…seems to be an outdated mind set.. sort of like ” oh well, so then? Is this a just let it go.” Wonderful let the outdated and dangerous for not only animals but humans, especially children, should they not be the first priority to protect? Do you see the difference between animal welfare/caring and how much can I get? What have you truly offered to protect dogs? Long time abusive humans which includes puppy millers, can go ahead and continue to give them full rein. Is that what you are saying?

  • Amelia Earhart

    Gee, what an amazing coincidence that this incredulous story pops up right when there is animal rights legislation? This story stinks worse than the alleged hogs. NO one dumps puppies in the median of an interstate. If they did anything like that, they would dump them off to the right, where you normally pull over a vehicle and then dump them in a ditch, where they wouldn’t be seen. Pulling over to the left of an interstate is probably against the law and attracts attention. Gosh, but isn’t that what happened. Shame on the animal rights activists who are probably the REAL puppy dumpers here. And how amazing that some farmer would bother to dump them on an interstate when all they would need to do to get rid of them is shoot them? Also how amazing that the owner calls up and spills her guts? Puppy pimping for money.

    • Black Widow

      It’s absolutely absurd. And people are buying this? How stupid people have become. Thinking emotionally and not realistically or logically.

    • Don

      And to make the bad guy a “Farmer” one of the other hard working folks trying to feed others these animal rights groups have been attacking. Then to put “Hog” into the story, which they have been attacking in shutting down.

  • Black Widow

    Sounds like someone is a great story teller! You know the sadder the story, the more people will want to buy one of these puppies (that look more like Border Collie mixes~which also come in a blonde color).

    Oh and let’s pass more laws that will be stricter for all dog owners because the laws on the books aren’t strict enough. Excuse me, you say these people were irresponsible and not abiding by current laws to begin with, what makes you think they would abide by stricter laws?

    Why are people getting so dumb when it comes to animals these days?

  • jessica

    You know I don’t normally comment on stories no matter my opinion, BUT I could not stand by and let some of you bash this organization. I have a adopted a wonderful dog from this organization and all of the people who work there are volunteers, amazing volunteers who care deeply about animals. This story is real! This has nothing to do with donations. You have no idea the cruelty they see on a regular basis. How about animals that come in with fleas so bad it looks like they have black skin? Or how about people who have sex with dogs???? That is the kind of stuff they would like stricter PUNISHMENT for…. how about instead of throwing out crazy accusations of greed and wrong doing on the shelter, you spend a day or two at the shelter volunteering???? Then maybe will listen to your opinion!

  • jessica

    And oh by the way @ black widow…. you don’t “buy” puppies from this shelter or any shelter for that manner. You adopt them ! Because you WANT to help a dog or cat that has been surrendered or has been thrown out. It’s not a puppy mill. There is a lot of work shelters put into a dog. And the adoption fee doesn’t even begin to cover those costs!

    • al smith

      enough already when you have a farm why would your drive puppies is a sack t the freeway to put them in the median? makes no sense.. and then call the shelter and want them back nope not buying it.. and Jessica when you pay for something that becomes your property you buy it

    • JenniferT

      Money exchanges hands so you can take home a product. Be that product a puppy, or a ping pong table, it’s a sale. Ask a lawyer.

  • Stephanie

    Whoever did this is an absolute monster. It makes me sick what people will do to poor innocent animals.

  • Kamandak

    Glad the puppies are ok. I kind of wish they would have said “Of Course you can come and pick up your puppies at X time” and had the police waiting. However, like the article states there isn’t much the police could do

    • Don

      IF the puppies were in the tied sack and abandoned and IF there really was a “Farmer” who did show up to claim them then yes that is animal cruelty and yes they can be charged. STOP believing these extremist they are taking your rights away by making owning any animal too restrictive, burdensome and expensive one law at a time. Those who have followed their pattern of lies for decades will tell you these stories and raids on breeders increase each and every time an animal rights sponsored bill is being pushed. They want the public and lawmakers to react not think and pass their agenda through without questions.

  • Joben Mel

    We not only need better laws, we need the laws we have to be enforced. That’s the reactive approach.

    The PRO-ACTIVE approach is prevention. In a society where dog and cat populations are saturated, we need people to SPAY and NEUTER their pets, and to never “buy” purposefully bred pets, while thousands die each day in animal shelters.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I have a friend whose dog was rescued as a puppy along side a highway. I don’t understand people at all. Sick.

  • Kathy

    Things don’t sound right in the info from the person who claims to have been the original owner. Either this is poorly written/quoted or the person calling, saying they were the owner, just made the story up as they went along to give that “shock” factor. The owner supposedly wouldn’t identify herself by name but wanted the puppies back????? Again, that doesn’t make any sense. Thank goodness they were found. I do wish the county could find the original owner because there are neglect laws, even if it were minor charges, it would have at least been something. Oh and not all farmers shoot strays and not all black and white dogs look like a skunk. The person is obviously stupid, inept, heartless and cruel. Why do they even have one dog and if they dislike puppies that much, why in the h*ll don’t they spay and neuter?

    • jp

      The shelter has the dad apparently now he is the golden retriever. But in the post on the shelter Facebook post ,the owner said her female was golden and this big black and white dog keeps coming around. I hope it is not a lie the shelter seems to be very good… It could be the owner not telling the truth? Lately around north iowa people are dumping cats into duffel bags throwing them into rivers or in dumpsters. Just confused…

  • Renee

    Those type of people who abuse animals are just heartless and cowardly since animals especially young ones, are helpless. They will all get what is coming to them in the end. Thank God for people who try to rescue these animals.

  • Pat Durbin

    I also cannot stand by and let everyone disrespect Patriots for Pets Shelter! They do all and everything they can for these poor dogs and yes they don’t make stories up for donations! They are a nonprofit shelter with all the staff being volunteers. Do you know how much of their lives they put into this job? And they put their hearts in it also! My daughter volunteers here and they do not make up these horrible stories, call some of the Police Depts. and get the stories on just a few of many of the dogs they have rescued for “horrific” conditions! And if it is not a farmer why would they have a pigpen? Get real people we all know that nobody is blaming just farmers for abuse, this comes from all different people. Call one of the many of 100’s of people who have paid a very small fee for adoption of a dog(a fee that would not even come close to covering the expense’s at a vet) and ask their opinion of Patriots shelter, get the facts, then criticize!

  • Janet Jones

    WOW ? This is an unbelievable story. Why on earth would anyone who dumped puppies “call” and make statements like that. If that indeed happened that was a hoax. And if a “farmer” had a litter of unwanted puppies they wouldn’t raise them up only to dump them or kill them. They would kill them when they were 1 day old. This story just doesn’t make sense from many different aspects. BUT I suppose a “story” such as this will garner free media attention and get donations coming in and generate sales. Just finding puppies on a dirt road in a ditch won’t bring in as much sympathy money as a story such as this.

  • Kate S.

    This has all the elements of a great urban legend. None of the woman’s details can be corroborated; she gave no name; the story is incredible and should be impossible to believe. If someone called to “claim” them and said all of that, but refused to give her name, how was she going to get the dogs back? Doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Me thinks the shelter manager likes to tell tall tales. I can’t believe a reporter was willing to publish this drivel.



  • Phyl Broich Wessling

    Tracking Animal Abuse: The FBI has added a new category for reporting animal cruelty crimes. Previously, such offenses were labeled as “Other”, now they’re considered a top-tier felony. It is hoped this new classification will help prosecution of these crimes and allow investigators to identify young offenders before their level of violence escalates. And yes there are things that can be done to stop this kind of animal abuse. So you think humans are still stuck in the dark ages, not evolved at all? Reading some of the comments on this post, So you think the person who dumped the pups is innocent or had other better options? For themselves or the pups? At what level? Who would that benefit? One of which,to continue on with their cruelty under the cover of out of sight, out of mind? Appears they just might enjoy pain inflicted on the mother dog, the pups, neighbors who own the male dog and people who love dogs and are seeking to stop this abuse. And you know this because? And you are opposed to better anti cruelty laws because?

  • Kat Kindles

    Wow what a tale….
    I can’t believe that this news station put this on without checking the facts! And for so many people to believe it.
    Good Grief, and what details … And for those who think framers are bad.. Really??
    This is just insane

    • Phyl Broich Wessling

      Agree Good Grief! Reading thru all the comments trying to discredit Pets for Patriots or marginalize them? Now who are they posters and what is their end motive? Sounds like some people are threatened by a light begin shined on animal abuse.

      • Kat Kindles

        I don’t know you nor do you know me. But there is a difference in stories from here to the one on their Facebook page.
        Also the pups are healthy and they are not matted or thin….
        If they were not cared for or if someone wanted them dead they would have signs of these issues.
        Not to mention the simple facts ….. 1. Two different stories (here and their Facebook),… they said they didn’t know the women yet on their face book page it said they were asked to leave the property of the women by the police??…. Also in this story they say the mom is golden retriever and on the Facebook they said the mom is a mountion dog??? It is very very concerning to the public who believes and wants to help. But there should never be a reason to lie.
        2. The laws Iowa has about abandoned animals would apply here . So if why not turn it over to the police ?
        These two facts are very telling.
        Why can not the public ask questions? Instead of the anger and rude posts that “defend ” this place, There should be simple answers. It seems there is much much more to this and it is a little more than sad that that the public is not being told the whole truth or perhaps any form of the truth.

  • Ginger

    Isnt this the shelter that bring in all the dogs from down south while dogs in Iowa die because no one helps them? Must cost alot to do that and brings dieseses into our State couldn’t that money be used to help our animals here especially when they say they are short on money. It takes homes away from the poor animals right here. Not right.
    Thankyou for taking these really cure puppys in that everyone wants to buy. Im sure they will get homes quick. And the heros the people who stopped and saved them, glad they got some credit not everyone would help an animal. Why don’t they have their name made public they deserve the thanks to.
    First kern said she did know the owner now she doesn’t? Which is it.

    • concerned

      I agree Ginger. I’m sure no one wants dogs from any other state to be hurt, but we have a big problem in our state. There have been many requests to adopt these dog already! They put a post that they will not adopt them out till they have been in foster care and learn to be puppies or something like that.a shelter a few miles from this one found a dog that ate its own tail off because it was starving to death on a chain.. EVERYONE wanted to adopt her from all over the country. She was not a puppy though and she is still up for adoption. Hope they hurry and find the pups hone before the news story is old news.

    • Lottie

      Boy Ginger, your puppy miller side is showing. I work with several wonderful rescues. The only time we have taken in dogs from the south was because of Katrina. They cost us a lot of money to treat heartworm positive dogs. The “millers ” trying to say we bring dogs in from the south or wherever because we don’t have enough strays in Iowa are the biggest idiots I’ve ever heard. Try to educate yourself before you spew nonsense. Ever rescuer I know would LOVE to be out of a job because that would mean puppy mills and pet overpopulation were eradicated. You and anyone that LOVES animals should be kissing the feet of these rescuers!

  • Jannean

    GodBless the Good Samaritans, and Patriots for puppies. It sickens me to know there is these kind of people in the world that can be so cruel :(

  • say what

    that puke that left them sounds like a serious Steve “The Iowa Puke” King. Would be nice to find where her kids and grandkids go to school and put up a billboard showing what mom and granny do

  • Ashley

    Hopefully the previous owner doesn’t try to adopt any of them when that time comes to try and hurt them again. She sounds like a horrible person!

  • Nancy

    I’ve heard a lot of tall animal tales in my 60 years but this one is right up in the top ten! I have to hope there aren’t many people gullible enough to believe this one. Journalism isn’t what it used to be. I can’t believe the media could do this story as told and keep a straight face doing so. If anyone wants to know what the law is and what punishments are for animal abuse, neglect or torture just google Iowa code 717B. Every spring when legislation is in session They make sure to have a story handy to tell to “prove” why Iowa law falls short. This story is one of the most contradictive ones yet. Any legislator gullible enough to believe anything beyond the puppies being found and turned in to shelter do not deserve their seat in office!

  • Betsy Fickel

    Hmmm, on an update from their facebook page, it’s now admitted they know where the pups came from. Wonder by whose authority Patriots for Pets thinks they have a right to trespass on someone’s private property for a look around. Yes, trespassing, as the sheriff had to be called and ordered them to leave.

    Beware public!!! there seems to be more and more of the mindset out there that because some “do gooder” doesn’t like the way you keep your animals, they think they have every right to breach your private property and possibly even steal your animals. Not that PfP was intent on theft but it is becoming a common occurrence throughout the U.S. Many times these types of people have no problem making up some tall tale, I.E. LIES, about the care of the animals because someone doesn’t bow down and kiss their all knowing xxxxxx, whatever. Knowledge based mostly on figments of vivid imaginations.

    • Phyl Broich Wessling

      So Betsy you have some fears? We are sure you will be happy to know the The FBI has added a new category for reporting animal cruelty crimes. Previously, such offenses were labeled as “other” now they are considered top-tier felony, It is hoped this new classification will help prosecution of these crimes and allow investigators to identify young offenders before their level of violence escalates. Are you in agreement that a wrong likes this needs to be corrected?

  • Dawn Panda

    This act was heinous and contrary to what is claimed in the article, is CLEARLY in violation of Iowa animal cruelty laws. Section 717B, 3 says that it is animal neglect to:c. Tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, mutilates, beats, or kills an animal by any means which causes unjustified pain, distress, or suffering. And the animal torture statute is even more applicable. Section 717B,3A: 1. A person is guilty of animal torture, regardless of whether the person is the owner of the animal, if the person inflicts upon the animal severe physical pain with a depraved or sadistic intent to cause prolonged suffering or death.
    It’s really too bad the owner wasn’t identified (do they not have caller ID in Iowa?) so they could be properly charged and punished.

    • Kat Kindles

      But their Facebook says they know who the owner is…???
      And the sheriff told them to leave. … So my question is why would the sheriff not charge the “owner” with These charges ?…. My guess is that this is a made story or that someone is not telling the whole truth… Which is very very sad.

  • doglover

    The overwhelming amount of animal abuses cases all over the country is absolutely out of control. In a society of entitlement like we have right now it is OK to do anything you want and have no consequences. As to the allegations that they are looking for money I wanted to confirm for myself and I can tell you that you are wrong – I called and asked if they were looking for funds for the puppies and they thanked me but said they only asked for donations on animals when there were extreme medical bills and that was not the case with these puppies. I see some of you think that all of the abuse cases going on is to push some type of agenda – people who dedicate their life to helping animals aren’t going to put them at risk for that. Maybe before some of you made accusations you should have called and talked to someone there.

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