UPDATED: Welfare check at rural Bemidji, Minn., home leads to discovery of 50-55 dogs
BEMIDJI - A welfare check on two women at a rural Bemidji residence Monday afternoon led to the discovery of 50 to 55 dogs and some cats living inside two mobile homes.
The welfare check, in the 4500 block of Grant Valley Road Northwest west of Bemidji, has prompted an investigation into the animals' care.
Originally, a Beltrami County Sheriff's Office report said the women were removed from the residence at about 12:30 p.m. for health and safety reasons and were placed at a local hotel.
However, Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said this afternoon that the women were not removed.
The Beltrami Environmental Agency, Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minn., and Beltrami Social Services are involved in the investigation.
Deputy Lee Anderson called the incident "fairly serious" and said the investigation is still ongoing as agencies work together on the matter.
Anderson said incidents like this have occurred in Beltrami County before, but said "every process is different" in how law enforcement officials handle the situation.
"There is no blueprint," he added.
The investigation into this incident will likely take a longer period of time because of certain "hurdles" that lay ahead of the public safety officials, Anderson said. He would not say more on what specific challenges he was referring to.
Check back for updates.