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.