KEARNEY — Abandoned outside of a gas station in west Kearney, eight puppies at Kearney Area Animal Shelter now are just a few weeks away from finding their forever homes, and next week KAAS will be looking for community members’ help in naming them.

According to Executive Director Olivia Derr, a woman found the 4-week-old puppies inside of a plastic tote at a gas station near the shelter last week. The tote had been taped shut, without any air holes or bedding inside for the tiny dogs.

The woman delivered them, and the tote, the same afternoon to the animal shelter.

“It’s not uncommon, but it’s also not happening every day. It’s common to see things like that,” Derr explained. “Animals that come in (to KAAS), they’ve been neglected, not been taken care of, maybe they’ve been abused. We see that a lot. But to have eight puppies that show up in a tote that’s duct taped, we don’t see that very often.”

Derr said that KAAS teamed up with the Kearney Police Department for some “recon,” attempting to see if any camera at the gas station showed who had left the puppies there, but the security footage didn’t reveal any clues.

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So now the animal shelter is caring for the three males and five females at their facility at 3205 W. Highway 30. Because the dogs aren’t yet eight weeks old, the age at which they can be adopted, KAAS will keep caring for them for the next few weeks.

“They are doing very well. They love to play and they’re very sweet,” Derr said.

Because the puppies were abandoned and the workers at the shelter have no idea who “mom and dad” are, KAAS can’t tell for sure what breed the dogs are, especially since they are still so young. Derr guessed that they could be retriever/lab mixes.

They can’t tell exactly how old the dogs are either, but Derr explained that they can get a rough estimate of that based on the dogs’ teeth. “It’s not exact ... We do the best to guess their age.”

When the pups turn eight weeks old, then they’re able to be put up for adoption. By that time, KAAS will have spayed or neutered them, have them microchipped and started on their vaccinations.

Derr said they’ve already had several inquiries about adopting the dogs after they posted the animals’ story on Facebook.

Before they’re adopted, all eight of the puppies also will get named.

Early next week, KAAS will kick off a sponsorship opportunity where, for $100, individuals can help pay for some of the costs associated with caring for the dogs, and in exchange get to meet and name the puppy.

Derr said that caring for these eight puppies can be expensive, including the cost of staff taking care of them, vaccinations and other veterinary costs, plus food.

“If you’re not able to adopt one of them, that’s one way too you’re able to interact with them and play a part in helping them find their forever home,” Derr said.

Those interested in sponsoring a dog may call the animal shelter at 308-237-7387 or watch for an announcement on the shelter’s Facebook page. KAAS also will announce when the dogs are ready for adoption.

Until then, Derr said, “We are giving them lots of snuggles and we’re bathing them and giving them lots of love.”

tiffany.stoiber@kearneyhub.com

@TiffanyStoiber

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