Local resident Peter Huebner is well known for having a soft spot for dogs, so it’s no surprise that he’s stepping forward to help pets, and pet owners, in the county.
"I looked at the bill for the trip to Truckee and it was over $500.00, and I thought ‘My God, people in this county can’t afford that."
Mr. Huebner was referring to a recent incident where someone in Loyalton tied a dog to a sheriff’s patrol car at the substation. The dog, when it was discovered, was taken to the animal shelter in Truckee by a deputy. Sierra County has a contract with the Truckee shelter. The total cost, for deputy’s time, kennel time and administrative fees came to over $500.00.
Peter knows about the incident because he’s a supervisor and Sheriff John Evans appeared before the board with the incident; the fees came across Supervisor Huebner’s desk. (Board Report HERE)
"I thought, I don’t want people losing their dogs because they don’t have the money, or because they can’t get their dog from Truckee."
Huebner touches on an important point. Dog owners in the county are at risk, because if your dog is taken to Truckee it will cost you hundreds, and if you try to abandon the dog, that might result in criminal charges and hundreds more. It is very common in rural Sierra county for dogs to pretty much run free. For many dogs, being tied or cooped in a yard is misery. That’s often when dogs bark. Many breeds of dogs are happiest running, making social rounds, barking up a skunk or finding love. Freedom is one reason many dog owning residents pay the price to live in Sierra County.
The long and short of it is, it might seem better for many families not to own a dog at all.
That’s what Peter Heubner is worried about. That’s why he founded Friends of Ziggy.
Sierra County Sheriff John Evans has released public notification about the animal control situation in the county (read it HERE). His office is bound to do something with problem dogs. Still, he is sympathetic to residents whose pets find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has made it clear that if people will 1. Keep a tag with owner’s name and telephone number, or 2. Get a chip implanted so the deputies can scan the dog to see who owns it, the office will make an effort to locate the owner before taking it to Truckee. Once the deputy starts to Truckee, though, the dollars add up.
That’s why Huebner is setting up a system to divert the pet from Truckee, if possible, or to help retrieve the pet if not. The system uses volunteers, the friends of Friends of Ziggy, to intercept the pet. So far, there are 8 volunteers.
Huebner is also raising money. Currently, he has a few hundred dollars from the sale of his book, "My Friend Ziggy," the true story of the real Ziggy. Huebner intends to give the proceeds of the sale of the book to the fund. It can be purchased for $15.95 with free shipping to anywhere in the U.S. by calling (530) 862-1004. If you would like to donate, Wells Fargo in Downieville is set up to accept donations.
Huebner has also teamed with Rachel Guffin, of the Animal Relief Fund (LINK), a fund set up to help people feed their pets through these hard times. Between the two organizations, pet owners will find assistance to allow them to keep their pets.
To help, call Peter Huebner at (530) 862-1004.
Editor’s note: please don’t tie animals to patrol cars. The animals might die of thirst, and you’d become a criminal! Call Peter instead!