by Wilson Walker

EUREKA (KPIX) — With a constant stream of strays, the Humboldt County Animal Shelter is loud, busy and almost always near capacity. Like most things in this part of California, you can trace it right back to the region’s green rush.

“The people that come to our community — even just the traveling ‘trimmers’ — almost all of them bring dogs with them,” says shelter manager Andrea Hale.

The problem, however, is hardly confined to the pound.


Wes Moore looks out over land he’s been working his entire life. “It’s actually been in the family since 1865,” he says.

While there has always been marijuana in these hills, the explosion of growers coming from outside the county has born a new pack of problems.

“Probably 75 percent of them take their dogs when they leave for the season,” Moore says, “but some of them turn the dog loose and it has to fend for itself.”

They are dogs turned loose by the seasonal flood of so-called “trimmigrants” or dogs that simply wandered away from their guard duties at pot farms. Either way, those dogs are taking a lethal toll on the region’s livestock.

“They chew their ears off, blind ’em by eating their face, they’ll chew their udders off, tear their stomachs open,” says Moore, who has lost several cows to the roaming dogs.

It’s not just the livestock that must be killed or put down because of injury. The surviving cattle are often traumatized or underweight. That means ranchers take a hit at the auction and struggle to manage cows that become terrified of their herd dogs. As Moore explains, “it’s a bad situation and we don’t have a lot of choices.”

The problem is now just part of the seasons in the Emerald Triangle. The sunny months give way to winter and ranchers find themselves chasing the ghosts of last year’s grow, the countless dogs are left to roam the hills, tearing apart livestock across a range that makes them almost impossible to catch.

“They’ll operate in packs, and that’s one of the issues we have, when they operate in packs they can do more damage,” says Sheriff Mike Downey, who has one livestock deputy for some four thousand square miles of county. “Not only do we have livestock issues, we have wildlife being run down as well.”

Once the next growing season arrives, so will a new wave of dogs.

The pound, which works around the clock to find homes for abandoned dogs, is mostly stocked with pit bulls and pit mixes, some of which weigh as much as 150 pounds. A pit adoption network and the continual demand for pits as guard dogs helps keep the shelter’s kill rate low considering the number of dogs that come though.

The dogs, however, are really just one piece of the collateral damage. Land, water, livestock, and wildlife have all suffered from the marijuana growers who don’t play by the rules and don’t care who has to pay for the consequences.

“It’s people that come up here to make a lot of money,” says Wes Moore, “and the people that live here are left with the aftermath.”

Comments (4)
  1. “Migrants” = illegal alien invaders employed by drug cartels. Yet another consequence of the illegal alien invasion of America, and the pot epidemic.
    This is why all drug dealers and traffickers must receive the death penalty. These low-life destroy lives, families, and communities. They must be destroyed in return!

  2. Greg Gadfly says:

    President elect Trump has stated his position several times.

    If you are an illegal immigrant and have been committing crimes, “bad hombres” you will be going home, otherwise we are glad to have you. Many of you work very hard and are productive.

    An example of a person that should go home…

    A corrupt Mexican DEA employee has been using his vehicle to commit insurance fraud.

    His vehicle is described as a cream colored older model Cadillac Escalade. He was last seen running his scam at the one of the major casino’s self park parking garage in Las Vegas.

    He tried the scam on me….

    I got into my vehicle which was parked on the top floor of the self park garage. I had parked my car in an area with many open spots around me. The lot was only about 2/3 full.

    As I started my car, I glanced up to look into my rear view mirror when I watched this older cream colored Cadillac quickly pull up and place the front of his car directly behind me and sit. His car was perfectly positioned so that I might have missed it if I had not seen him drive up. I watched for a few more moments when he spotted me watching him in the rear view mirror. He then quickly pulled back then forward then back and forward again and I presume he exited the parking lot because as I left I could not see his car anywhere.

    Description: ~2005 Cream colored Cadillac Escalade,mexican male driver approximately 30 years of age with short military style hair cut, last spotted at the $%#@ parking garage.
    I called the Casino security and gave them a description of the car and driver. I also indicated I was parked so that they could see the entire incident on security cameras.

    If you see this person in a casino parking lot, contact the casino security.

    We all know Mexico has a problem with corrupt law enforcement. With corruption being as pervasive as it is in Mexico, why would law enforcement employees of Mexican descent in the U.S. be any different?

    Everyone be careful. He is a corrupt piece-of-s**t..

    I had a very good look at this person as I stared into my rear view mirror waiting for him to move. I have seen him several other times thereafter. CORRUPT FBI AND DEA EMPLOYEES WILL COMMIT MURDER TO COVER UP THEIR CRIMES.