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Dog rescued from hoarder given life-saving operation


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SALT LAKE CITY — One of the 149 dogs rescued in November from an Ogden man with good intentions is back on her feet after a life-saving surgery.

Courtney was discovered to have a severe heart murmur after being rescued from the home of Miguel Salgado, who had taken in stray and abandoned dogs until the situation got out of control, prompting Ogden Animal Control to remove 149 malnourished Chihuahua mixes.

Salgado told shelter workers he loved dogs, but heart problems prevented him from taking proper care of them. He had shut off his power to pay for dog food and called shelter workers when it got to be too much.

The dogs were taken to four different shelters, where they had to be examined by a veterinarian before being placed for adoption or foster care. A few were too sick to save; most would find a new home with the people on the nine-page waiting list who expressed their interest in adopting the animals.

One of those animals was Courtney. Her heart murmur turned out to be a congenital abnormality that required a no-promises surgery.

"It's a pretty expensive surgery to undergo, and the outcome is either life or death, so there are no guarantees they'll make it through," said Allison Lamb, a veterinarian with Best Friends Utah.

Advanced Veterinary Care in Salt Lake City did the operation at cost, which was picked up by Best Friends Utah. Lamb said the 40-minute surgery went well and that Courtney can expect to lead a normal life.

Her new life is starting with Julee LaMott, her foster mom. LaMott took Courtney in knowing the dog needed surgery, because "you just can't help but love this dog right away."

"I think she's just a really lucky dog," she said. "This could have gone on and she could have had serious complications, and she was just lucky she was found and given the care she needs so she can have the life she deserves."

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Stephanie Grimes

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