Woman adopts 27 dogs from California shelter

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Butcher, a male Boxer mix in L.A.'s North Central shelter, is listed on

Reno-area resident Colleen Spalioni got more than she bargained for recently when she went looking for a new pet following the death of her 2-year-old pointer, Barney. (The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Barney ‘was struck by a vehicle on Pyramid Highway. He died in her arms. She slept beside him that night and had him cremated in the morning.’)


Colleen started her search at the website DogsInDanger, which lists shelter dogs scheduled for euthanization and the number of days they have left.

Spalioni originally intended to adopt a dog who resembled Barney, and she found one in a shelter near Bakersfield. So she headed there to adopt the dog, paying a teenage neighbor $50 to ride along with her on the nearly 800-mile trip. When she arrived, she was overwhelmed at the sight of so many other dogs marked for death.

Spalioni’s solution? She adopted an additional 26 dogs (including eleven Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, two shepherd mixes, two miniature Pinschers, a Jack Russell terrier and a poodle), packed them into her truck and headed back home. She told the Gazette-Journal, ‘after I lost my dog who gave me so much unconditional love, I couldn’t leave these dogs to die.’

The Associated Press takes the story from there:

But once home, neighbors complained of the barking, and she was told local ordinance prohibits more than three dogs per household. 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... ‘I learned my lesson. I promise I won’t do this again,’ Spalioni said.

Spalioni is looking for a foster home to care for one of the remaining dogs, an 11-month-old Rottweiler mix named Sunshine. The Gazette-Journal says:

Colleen Spalioni said she had to take...Sunshine to a veterinarian Tuesday because a collar had grown into her neck over the past six months. She’s unable to care for the dog through a recovery that will involve administering medicine and keeping an eye on the wound.

Two puppies died due to illness. Besides Sunshine, an Australian cattle dog, an Australian shepherd/pointer mix, and a shepherd-pit bull mix remain with Spalioni.

--Lindsay Barnett