Home News Local News Bulldog takes flight from Roswell for second chance

Bulldog takes flight from Roswell for second chance

Juno Ogle Photo Lauren Chavez, left, and Christian Orchek, volunteer pilots for Las Cruces rescue group Barkhouse, pose with the bulldog after loading him onto the plane Wednesday morning at the Roswell Air Center.

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Juno Ogle Photo
Jim Burress, director of special services for the city of Roswell, pets a bulldog surrendered to Roswell Animal Services as he and Rebecca Porte wait Wednesday morning at Avflight for an airplane to transport the dog to a rescue in Santa Fe. Porte is a local volunteer with Las Cruces rescue group Barkhouse. The dog has no teeth and was severely underweight and malnourished when Animal Services took possession of the dog last month.

A young mixed-breed bulldog was literally flying high Wednesday morning on his way to a second chance after Roswell Animal Services staff realized some special care would help him get adopted.

Thanks to the work of Animal Services and volunteers from across the state, the bulldog was flown from Roswell to a Santa Fe rescue that specializes in finding homes for bulldogs and pit bull breeds.

Surrendered to Animal Services on April 26, the dog, nicknamed J.J. by the staff, was severely underweight. His previous owner had kept the dog in a kennel and J.J. had chewed on the chain link fence until he had no teeth left.

“It was an issue of education with the owner,” Megen Telles, interim kennel manager at Animal Services, said. “He was feeding dry kibble, the dog kept losing weight. Put it together if you don’t have teeth, you can’t have kibble.”

Telles said Animal Services had been contacted to perform a welfare check on the dog. An animal control officer instructed the owner on why the dog was losing weight, but also believed removing the dog from the situation was its best option. The officer persuaded the owner to surrender the dog.

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“We don’t like to do it, but if they’re not going to care for them properly we don’t want them dying out there,” Telles said.

Without teeth, it’s difficult to determine his age, but Telles said the staff estimated J.J. is about three years old and is probably mostly English bulldog with some other breeds mixed in. He should weigh about 55 to 60 pounds, Telles said, but weighed about 40 pounds when brought to the shelter.

He was a good-tempered, friendly dog and the staff knew they couldn’t euthanize him just because of his poor health condition.

“He’s super friendly, loves other dogs, all around great dog except for his weight,” Telles said. He even played fetch with the staff.

She was concerned about his ability to be adopted in Roswell, however. Even after three weeks of being fed soft food, J.J. was still very thin, his rib cage and backbone protruding.

Animals that will need extra care aren’t as likely to be adopted here, Telles said.

“We have a lot of really healthy dogs and people aren’t willing to adopt those animals. People who do come in here, they want that. They want a healthy, adoptable animal,” she said.

Animals must be kept for four days before being put up for adoption, and Roswell Animal Services currently allows animals to be kept for 20 days to allow rescue groups to pull them from the shelter.

Telles contacted Barkhouse, a Las Cruces rescue previously known as Uncaged Paws, that has worked with Roswell Animal Services before, to get some help for J.J. The group’s founder, Kelly Barker, contacted Pet-A-Bulls, a Santa Fe rescue group that specializes in “bully” breeds like bulldogs and pit bull breeds, who agreed to take him in.

Barkhouse has a network of volunteer pilots who transport dogs across the state and arranged for a ride for J.J.

Wednesday morning, Rebecca Porte, a local volunteer with Barkhouse, picked up J.J. from the  Roswell Animal Services shelter, 705 E. McGaffey, and along with Jim Burress, director of special services for the city, and Juanita Jennings, public affairs director, took him to Avflight, a fixed-based operator for small planes at the Roswell Air Center.

Around 9 a.m., pilots Lauren Chavez and Christian Orchek arrived from Albuquerque. Chavez is an instructor at SAMS Academy, a STEM charter school in Albuquerque, and Orchek a recent graduate. After Jennings recorded a video with the pilots and Burress, they loaded him in the small plane and prepared for the flight to Santa Fe. Orchek said the flight would take a little over an hour.

Burress, who oversees animal control, said J.J.’s rescue was possible in part due to the volunteers who work with Animal Services and the rescue groups, but both are in need of more volunteers. For information about volunteering, contact animal services at 575-624-6722.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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