EXCLUSIVE: A look at ‘The Lucky 13′ dogs that were rescued as part of an animal cruelty case

The owner of a K9 training facility has been on leave after 31 dogs had to be rescued from it.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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TOLLAND, CT (WFSB) – The owner of a K9 training facility has been on leave after 31 dogs had to be rescued from it.

Channel 3 received an exclusive update on the rescued dogs.

Some of the dogs that survived the Black Rock Canine Training Facility in Naugatuck are on their way to new homes at different police departments. Another group, dubbed “The Lucky 13″ is receiving extra care at an organization in Tolland.

The owner of the Black Rock facility, New Canaan officer David Rivera, has been charged with animal cruelty after police said dogs were shot and killed on the property.

By all police accounts of the conditions at Black Rock, the 31 dogs were hauled out of hell.

Some wondered how someone could walk past the dogs knowing they haven’t been properly cared for.

Thirteen of the surviving dogs from the Naugatuck cruelty case found a little bit of heaven at Tolland Tails Kennel.

They’ve spent the past few days in the care of co-founder Alyssa Larson, who has experience handling the German shepherd and Malinois dogs.

“All very active, high-energy working dogs that need a job,” Larson said.

The state Department of Agriculture released the animals to Tolland Tails and the Hometown Foundation, an organization that funds the training and care of rescued K9s and working dogs.

Together, they said their goal was to transform these dogs, once on the brink of death, into the life-saving animals they were meant to be in police departments, the TSA, and in households supporting veterans.

“These dogs need donors and support for medical expenses grooming and just basic needs,” said Samantha Silverman, Hometown Foundation.

The dogs have had more room to spread out and work off some of their energy, but the biggest obstacle was making sure they gain weight in a healthy way.

“You cannot just give massive amounts of food at one time,” Larson said. “You have to do small little amounts just so it gets their bodies used to eating again.”

One dog Larson showed Channel 3 should weigh approximately 55 to 60 pounds.

“He was weighed in at the ER last night at 39.1 pounds,” she said. “A lot of time people think the worst even when you’re trying to help. [You should have seen] the looks that I was getting from people walking a dog that skinny into the vet clinic.”

But just like first impressions, superstition holds a lot less weight when people peel back the layers and see the forces at work to make things change.

The organizations said the dogs must know that somebody cares about them, forces strong enough to change an ominous number into something great.

That’s why the dogs became known as The Lucky 13.

Anyone who wants to donate to the Hometown Foundation’s fund to support the dogs’ recovery can utilized a text-to-donate number and a website with more information.

Text “k9support” to “76278.”

The website for Hometown Foundation is https://hometownfoundation.org/.