RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - In the past ten years, the number of Huskies dropped off at animal services has surged from 167 in 2010 to 572 so far in 2017.
Huskies 4-year-old Pele and 6-year-old Shylo are beautiful to look at. But their owners know they could just as easily end up at animal control.
“Huskies are a lot of work. They are high-maintenance dogs, they have a lot of energy, they want to run,” says Letisha Cole with Tahoe Husky Rescue.
“Huskies can have a very destructive behavior. It occurs because of boredom. They will eat your house, they will break out of your house, they will run away,” says dog trainer Bailey Lissner with Ideal Canine.
The Husky is known for his and her intelligence. Its breeding goes back to Siberia, and the dogs were taken to Alaska in the early 1900s. Known as sled dogs, it is that energy that stays with them and makes them a challenge to their owners.
“So they are escaping, and a lot of the dogs end up in the shelter and people either leave them there, because they can't afford to keep bailing them out, or they say forget it, I don't want this dog, and that's where we come in,” says Cole.
Because the dogs are hard to place to an average owner, Tahoe Husky Rescue frequently goes to Washoe County Animal Control to help find huskies new homes.
Cole says prospective owners can't live in an apartment and cannot be under 21 years of age, and the organization does do a home check.
Lissner says she is often called in to help owners who see Husky puppies but don't realize patience and persistence are crucial in training and socializing those puppies into adulthood.
“It has to be someone who is wiling to challenge the dog mentally as well,” says Lissner of Husky ownership.
A tall order, both Cole and Lissner say, for a dog with plenty of heart and the capability of great companionship for someone who is willing to put in the time.