Manistee Animal Shelter Needs Help with Dog Rescue – UPDATE 03-22-13

Homeward Bound Animal Shelter in Manistee is asking for help to care for 25 dogs that were recently seized by the Manistee County Sheriff from a Copemish home after investigating a tip about animal neglect. At the home, the Sheriff found almost 50 dogs who were covered in feces, in need of veterinary care and who were very underweight. About half of them are Siberian Huskies or Siberian mixes. Some of the dogs are Greyhound/Husky mixes and others are Alaskan Huskies. Most of the dogs are around 30 to 40 lbs., about half of the weight they are supposed to be.  Another 27 dogs will also probably be taken from the home as soon as foster homes or adopters can be found. The case is still being investigated by the Sheriff, who will write a report and turn it over to the county’s prosecutor.

Homeward Bound Animal Shelter is asking for fosters, preferably from already-established rescue groups, who can step forward to take care of the dogs as they don’t have room for the additional dogs that need to get out of the house. The dogs will need room to run and some of them will have special needs as a result of being neglected. Some of these rescued dogs will be fine with other dogs and some won’t. Only one of them appears to be initially aggressive but Homeward Bound will be working with him to see what progress they can make with him. Most of the dogs are lacking manners or they are terrified from the big changes in their lives.

The fostering and adoption process for these dogs will be more comprehensive and lengthy due to the fact that the dogs were used for racing and not really kept as pets. They are working animals and Homeward Bound will be asking that people fill out a compatibility form to make sure the dogs are placed in the best possible manner. The process won’t be quick and the dogs might not be up for adoption for a while, a month at the earliest. They ask for the public’s patience with the rehabilitation of the dogs so that appropriate placements can be made.

Homeward Bound appreciates the public’s response and their willingness to help these animals. They ask that if you’d like to help them, they could use donations of dog food, medical supplies and vet care (a vet tech). They would also appreciate firewood donated to keep the animals warm. They could also use big blankets that are easy to wash (not comforters or sleeping bags). They could also use extra shampoo for grooming as the dogs were in rough shape coming out of the house. You can donate to the shelter online here.

If you are interested in helping Homeward Bound please contact Brit Goda, MCHS Manager. The number at the shelter is 231-723-7387. You can contact Brit at

The Homeward Bound Animal Shelter is a non-profit community-based animal shelter located in Manistee County. They are not funded by any local, state or federal funds. All money used to maintain Homeward Bound and the animals comes from donations and fundraisers.

At Homeward Bound, no animal is euthanized because of time or space. They do not believe that putting one animal down to make room for another is right. As long as the pet is healthy, happy and non-aggressive, they stay until their “forever home” is found. Since opening their doors, they have taken in and found homes for approximately 1180 homeless pets.

Update 03-22-13:

Maxwell and Wanda Wiggins of Wiggi’s Mountain-Side Huskies were arraigned on charges of animal cruelty today regarding the story published above. You can read more about that here.

This is not the first time that Pet Friends Magazine has heard of this couple. They run Wiggi’s Mountain-Side Huskies, a dog sledding business which they ran independently at their home as well as partnering with the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf Resort to offer dog sledding rides on the weekend.

Pet Friends Magazine ran into them a few years ago at a pet event at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville in October of 2009. The event was called “Goin’ to the Dogs” – a members’ appreciation weekend celebration. It was attended by animal rescue groups and other vendors. The Wiggins were there to do a dog sledding demonstration. They also had brought a crate with a bunch of sick looking puppies crammed into it. If that wasn’t already bad enough, it was a windy, rainy cold day and the dogs sat in the crate getting wet all day. The Wiggins were trying to give the dogs away but I think only one person took a puppy. The Wiggins were acting like the puppies weren’t “their” dogs but they were Huskies so it was obvious. Someone at the event even overheard Maxwell Wiggins at the end of the event say, “if somebody doesn’t take these pups with them, they will have to be put down.”

June of AC PAW took seven of the puppies when she left that day. It turned out that most of them had Parvo and AC PAW lost four of them. In addition to that, since people were handling the puppies and then touching other animals, two of the AC PAW puppies also got Parvo and AC PAW lost one of those as well. Handds to the Rescue also took five of the puppies and lost three of them. Although it was heartbreaking, Dorothy of Handds was happy that they at least found love for the days that they had left.

Sadly, AC PAW was only able to save three of these puppies

Sadly, AC PAW was only able to save three of these puppies

We’ll never know how many other dogs might have gotten sick at that event because of the Wiggins. Their arrest appears to be a culmination of years of neglect and abuse against the dogs they were supposed to be taking care of.


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