LIVINGSTON, Mont. – A Park County court order forced foster families to care for 12 dogs neglected and abandoned in Paradise Valley in May 2020 to be returned to their owner.
On May 12, 2020, the Stafford Animal Shelter received a call from the Park County Sheriff’s Office regarding an abandoned sled dog situation on property in Paradise Valley.
LIVINGSTON, Mont. – More than a dozen dogs were neglected and abandoned on property in Paradise Valley on Tuesday, according to the Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston.
The court order dated February 5, 2021 said the property’s owner, Ice Fox, collapsed in his yard in May 2020 and was in a coma for 42 days, leaving the dogs behind.
Law enforcement seized and confiscated Fox’s dogs, and over time placed several dogs in the care of various “foster families” and the Stafford Animal Shelter.
Fox is currently awaiting a March 8th trial indicting two animal cruelty crimes.
At the time of the first trial, the dogs had been at the shelter for 253 days, with grooming and veterinary expenses of $ 51,827.73.
The court found that Fox would pay $ 15,330 in care expenses as of May 12, the month of June, and mid-July 2020.
Fox took home five dogs and Michele McCowan, owner of the Mountain Angels Sanctuary, took eight dogs for 90 days and performed welfare checks on the dogs Fox looked after at least once a week.
Park County does not currently have an animal control officer or employee responsible for this type of oversight.
Shannon Ongaro cared for two of the oldest dogs rescued from the property in May 2020, but both dogs died of ill health.
“I will say that this community of foster families really came together and they worked very hard from a legal point of view, also to support each other. These people want the best for the animals and they are interested in animal welfare, ”Ongaro said.
The group of foster families filed a motion with District Court judge Brenda Gilbert to reconsider the court order to hand the dogs over to Fox’s care.
So far, a decision has to be made on this application.
Law enforcement and prosecutors can also check in Fox or McCowan’s dogs for the next six months.
This is a developing story and we will keep updating this article as we learn more.