The canine soldiers in Sacramento’s booming marijuana wars snarl and yap inside their kennels at the Front Street Animal Shelter.
They are “guard dogs,” seized from illegal pot operations, and they are filling up the already overburdened shelter.
Within the past week, at least 10 dogs guarding properties that police have identified as marijuana “grow houses” have been transferred to Front Street. Eight are German shepherds or shepherd mixes, which authorities said seem to be a favored breed among illegal pot growers.
This year, the city began collecting data on dogs brought to the shelter from suspected unlicensed pot houses, said chief animal control officer Jace Huggins. During the first six months, animal control officers have picked up about 70 dogs that police said were tied to those operations, he said.
Illegal grow house operators use large, strong dogs to protect their wares, Huggins said. The animals are not treated as pets.
“Most of these houses are not lived in,” he said. “The product is grown in them, and the dogs are used as security. They live outside and get the bare minimum of food and water, and they usually are not socialized. They can be very aggressive.”
“Some of them are beautiful animals and good dogs,” she said. But because of their backgrounds and temperaments, they may never make it out of the shelter alive.
The Sacramento Bee. “Marijuana guard dogs strain animal shelter as illegal pot grows rise in Sacramento” http://www.sacbee.com. 27 June 2018. Web. 10 July 2018.