Charlene Rogers’ duties as Farmington’s animal control officer may be limited to the confines of a regular work week, but her love and compassion are not.
In June of 2011, five white dogs were dumped on Pinnacle Mountain, Rogers explained. A week later, she had caught four of them, gotten them into foster care and adopted out to loving homes.
The fifth remained at large, running a loop back and forth from one home, forest, or meal to the next for months, Rogers said. The dog survived off of what she could find and the generosity of the residents whose homes she would frequent.
“There was one last dog I couldn’t catch. She wouldn’t go into a trap. I couldn’t corner her. You just couldn’t get near her. … She was getting on a schedule of where she went throughout the day,” Rogers said. “I tried to do feeding stations so I could depend on where she would be. I tried tranquilizers and she didn’t show any sign of slowing down. Nothing worked."
The dog, now a 2-year-old American Boxer, made it through Tropical Storm Irene, the late October nor'easter and the winter. And Rogers said the dog crossed Route 10 every day.
Just as remarkable, Rogers made her way out to feed the dog seven days a week for the past year.
“She started to recognize my truck and avoid that so I was going in an unmarked car,” Rogers said.
The locals in the area where the dog frequented also began caring for the dog, feeding her and calling Rogers to report where she was.
“Everyone’s given her their own names,” Rogers said. “And there were some people feeding her. She was non-aggressive. I don’t think she was doing any hunting. She was just a survivor. With the wind storms and the trees coming down, she just lived through all of it. She would get so covered in ticks it was horrible.”
But a few weeks ago, the dog followed another dog into the garage at a home. She was interested in the other dog, Rogers said, and the homeowner was able to close the door and catch her.
She was in rough shape at the time but after veterinary care and some love, she’s getting better, Rogers said.
“She’s very quiet, keeps to herself and she’s still very sensitive to anything that moves fast or loud noises, which is to be expected. She was on guard 24/7. I consider her a feral dog and for a feral dog, she’s doing really well living with two other dogs.”
Rogers said she and her four siblings likely came from a backyard breeder, who was looking to get rid of them quickly and decided to dump them on Pinnacle Mountain.
More frequently, she said, dogs are dumped in Batterson Park. Rogers picks up 80 to 100 dogs each year that have been dumped, many of whom are purebred.
“There are still a lot of backyard breeders. They get over their heads or the landlords say you have to get rid of them. There are vet bills that are unexpected or people move on to the next money maker,” Rogers said.
The dog is now in foster care with a Farmington family, with whom Rogers suspects she may stay.
“Whether I was working or not, I was just determined that she had to be helped and I knew that was the right thing to do. I think she knows and I think she appreciates it.”