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HomeNewsLocal News"Lone survivor" of the Apache County animal crisis finds a forever home

“Lone survivor” of the Apache County animal crisis finds a forever home

APACHE COUNTY- Seven dogs were shot and killed in Apache County, the tragic and heartwarming update about the two rescued dogs.

In September 2023, an Apache County Sheriff’s Office Deputy shot and killed seven emaciated and abandoned dogs in Apache County.

The two dogs that were rescued were seen on the body camera footage circling the enclosure as the Apache County Deputy was preparing to shoot and kill the seven that the County Deputy trapped.

The Apache County Deputy shot and killed the seven dogs and dumped their bodies near the train tracks, according to the body camera footage and the police report.

The two rescued dogs received names: The brown dog, named Darla, was the mother of the dogs that were killed, and the black and white dog, named Bruno, was her son.

Darla and Bruno were left to survive on their own after the seven were killed.

After learning that Darla and Bruno remained abandoned in the area, several calls were made to animal rescues, and Teresa Schumann with Northern Arizona Animal Search and Rescue sent help.

Schumann said, “We didn’t know that two dogs remained in the area, when we found out, we created a plan with Mountain Daily Star staff to get them help.”

Trapping Bruno and MOUNTAIN DAILY STAR
Schumann set traps and added live cameras so the resources could watch Darla and Bruno and humanely capture them.

Darla and Bruno were brought to the Holbrook animal shelter by the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control, they went through separation anxiety. They were inseparable and treatment seemed difficult according to the shelter spokesperson.

Darla and Bruno remained on a behavior hold.

The Holbrook Animal Shelter continued to work with the dogs, and after some time they finally had a breakthrough. Both dogs became friendly enough to receive rehabilitation.

Schumann’s update was, “They are finally coming out of their shells.”

Mountain Daily Star staff received an additional update, and it was tragic news: Bruno was sick with parvo. 

The treatment wasn’t successful and Bruno passed away.

“We tried everything and there was nothing more we could’ve done, he ended up dying from parvo. He passed away in the loving arms of the animal volunteers that tried desperately to save him,” said one of the animal volunteers.

A younger picture of Bruno in Adamana, Arizona, prior to the dogs being shot.

Darla, the “lone survivor,” managed to accept rehabilitation and reacted well to the care according to the animal care specialists.

Once Darla was vaccinated, spayed, and received her microchip, Katie Harris with Mountain Girl Rescue had her brought to a foster home in Flagstaff.

“When Teresa reached out to me about the abandoned dogs, I offered to post them on social media for fosters, but was unable to travel to the homesite to take pictures or evaluate the dogs temperament. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear anything until it was too late. I never imagined this would be their outcome. I cant understand how this was considered to be a reasonable or humane solution to an already heartbreaking situation,” said Harris.

Mountain Girl Rescue
Katie Harris with Mountain Girl Rescue and Darla, now named Mya.

Harris told Darla’s incredible story on Facebook, and they found her a forever home.

Polly Magness and Deborah Hunsaker of Pine, Arizona, found out about Darla’s story and knew it was meant to be. The couple adopted Darla. They lost their precious yellow lab Bailey, and told Mountain Daily Star the loss left a void in the family, and Darla was the perfect fit.

Darla was renamed Mya. She received a forever home and a new sister, Piper.

Polly Magness (left) and Deborah Hunsaker (right) from Pine, Arizona with Piper (left) and Mya (right).

The couple is presently on a cross country road trip in their R.V. and are currently making their way back to Arizona.

“She has a good life now, and we are so glad to be the ones who can give it to her,” said Polly and Deborah.

Piper and Mya enjoy a comfy bed and a dog nap.

“The love that we had for Baily we now give to Mya, and our void is filled. It’s amazing after the trauma Mya went through that she’s such a loving, affectionate dog. She and Piper are very close, and Mya has completed our family,” said Polly and Deborah.

Mya enjoys a comfy couch in the R.V on the cross country adventure MOUNTAIN DAILY STAR
Mya enjoys the comfy couch in the R.V on the cross country adventure with her forever family.

Several on Facebook wrote that she deserves to be spoiled for the rest of her life and hasn’t forgotten how to love; she’s living her best life and got to dip her paws into the Florida ocean with her forever family.

Mya on the Florida beach MOUNTAIN DAILY STAR
Mya and a friend spend time at a beach in Florida during their cross country road trip.

“I’m so thankful Mya escaped and we were able to work with the Holbrook shelter to facilitate her adoption to a fabulous forever home. She is truly living her best life, may they all be so lucky,” said Harris.


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