The Oregon Humane Society on Tuesday sent a team to rescue as many as 100 dogs living without shelter in cold weather on rural property in Eastern Oregon.
Some of the dogs are living underground in holes covered with planks, while others are chained to farm equipment and have little or no shelter, officials said.
"It was 11 below this morning," Harney County Sheriff David Glerup said. "It's high desert with no trees on the property, and pretty much flat ground _ nothing to stop the wind."
The dogs being rescued from the property about 20 miles east of Burns were subsisting mostly on cattle carcasses obtained from a local meat processing plant, officials said.
The condition of the dogs, which included a variety of breeds, was being assessed, officials said.
Deputies were called to the property by county social workers who were investigating an unrelated complaint involving an 11-year-old child.
Glerup said three people are facing animal neglect charges: Anita Anderson, 55; Ronald Anderson, 43; and Kathlean Fuchs-Goyogana, 34. The Andersons live in one of three mobile homes on the property while Fuchs-Goyogana lives in a second, the sheriff said.
Glerup said none had attorneys but they cooperated with deputies and signed releases for most of the animals. No phone listings for the Andersons or Fuchs-Goyogana could be found.
A three-person team from the Oregon Humane Society dispatched to the property Monday returned with 14 dogs, including four puppies who are one week old and six puppies who are three- to four-months old. The team that left Tuesday was expected to return Wednesday, according to David Lytle, a Humane Society spokesman in Portland.
The agency has its own dog transport van but had to rent two more to accommodate the large number of animals, he said.
Lytle said the current rescue was one of the largest such in the humane society's history. Deputies were also checking the condition of some goats and horses on the property, he added.
Earlier this year, about 200 dogs were rescued from a Harney County property where a man kept them in pens and trailers scattered around a sagebrush flat in the high desert.
"Most of these dogs, despite their living conditions, are friendly to people and want to be around us. I hope we can get them into loving homes in time for the holidays," Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society, said in a statement.