Skip to Content

Street Dog Hero takes in 50 dogs from closing Madras shelter; Jefferson County contracts with BrightSide for kennels

(Update: Jefferson County commissioners OK contract with BrightSide)

Nonprofit rescue organization seeks help from other groups, individuals

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Bend nonprofit rescue group Street Dog Hero said Wednesday it has taken in the 50 dogs remaining at the Jefferson County animal shelter before the contract with current service provider Rockn EZ Rescue Ranch expires at the end of June, and is looking to fellow rescue groups and others for assistance.

"The dogs that are left here are the ones that the manager of that shelter couldn't find placement for," Kristen Elrod, Street Dog Hero executive director said Wednesday. "So it makes sense that it would be mostly large dogs. Those are typically harder to place than the small dogs."

Meanwhile, Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a temporary six-month contract with Redmond’s BrightSide Animal Center to house impounded dogs while the county does needed work on the kennels.

Rockn EZ has been caring for and seeking new homes for dozens of dogs since failing to reach agreement with the county on a new contract, including an adoption event held in late May.

Rockn Z Executive Director Cindy Fisher said Wednesday, "The decision to take care of the animals here in this area has always been a great decision. Trying to work with the county in this capacity turned out not to be a great decision for me, personally."

The Rockn EZ operation of the Madras shelter was set to shut down at the end of this month, when their contract ends, and the facility faced many issues.

RockN EZ Rescue Ranch Board Treasurer and Vice Chair Jan Forrester said, "There's structural issues. We had heat and the HVAC system go out a couple times. There's mold in the ceiling falling down. The county has been miserable to work with."

Jefferson County provided this statement Wednesday to NewsChannel 21 about the pending contract:

“Jefferson County acknowledges and appreciates the concern in our community about the animals at the Jefferson County Kennels. We are committed to the well-being and care of all animals at the kennel.  In anticipation of the expiration of the contract with our current service provider, we are partnering with BrightSide Animal Center for the temporary care and kenneling of law enforcement impounded dogs during this transition period.  Starting July 1, law enforcement impounded dogs will be housed at BrightSide in Redmond.  The County expects to conduct some needed repairs at its existing facility and will issue a request for proposals for a new kennel service provider before the end of the year. “

The approved contract through year's end (unless extended) would pay BrightSide $27,600 up front, for a rate of $30 per kennel per day, with 24/7 access for deputies to bring them to the Redmond facility. Dogs impounded for running at large would be held for at least five days, and any other dogs or cats taken there would be cared for at BrightSide’s discretion.

One clause of the contract notes that BrightSide “is committed to being a high-save shelter and is firmly opposed to ‘convenience euthanasia.’” It says the county agrees no dogs would be put down during the contract, except in court-mandated cases or when a veterinarian determines the animal is dangerous to the public or is too sick or injured to be saved.

Street Dog Hero, which recently received seven dogs from Afghanistan and 38 from a crowded Oklahoma shelter, issued this news release on taking in the Jefferson County dogs:


Street Dog Hero seeks help from other local rescue organizations as well as local fosters and volunteers to help with the large intake of dogs at their Bend facility

(BEND, OR.) June 19, 2024 - Street Dog Hero, a non-profit organization based in Bend, has collaborated with local rescue group, Herding Dogs Rescue, to rescue and provide a home for the remaining 50 dogs at a Madras shelter, which was set to shut down at the end of this month.

Despite months of trying to find homes for all the dogs in the shelter, 50 dogs still needed a safe haven to prevent them from being euthanized. This is where Street Dog Hero and Herding Dogs Rescue stepped in to save these furry friends.

The dogs were transported in crates and loaded into three separate horse trailers before being taken to Street Dog Hero's Bend facility on Tuesday evening.

The Medical Manager of the organization, Jaymie Friesner, explained that although their facility was not designed to shelter such a large number of dogs, they were committed to keeping them safe from being euthanized.

The facility is currently operating at maximum capacity and has sought help from other rescue organizations to take in some of the dogs.

Additionally, the organization is appealing for more fosters to come forward to help care for these animals, as they had just taken in 38 dogs from a shelter in Oklahoma just four days earlier. Despite being stretched thin, Street Dog Hero's Executive Director, Kristen Elrod, believes they can manage the situation and is hoping for the support of the community.

Ms. Elrod said that the rescue operation was in the works for some time, and she is happy that they were able to help these dogs. Although there will be some challenges, they are taking it day by day, and with the help of volunteers and fosters, they hope to find homes for these animals very soon.

The dogs vary in ages and personalities, but many of them are large dogs that may have been overlooked at the Madras shelter. As a result, they will need some time to adapt to their new surroundings.

Ms. Elrod states, “All of the dogs from this group are so sweet and loving. We have dogs in this group that are bonded pairs and have to be adopted together. We also have some senior dogs and a momma dog and her nine puppies.”

Street Dog Hero is reaching out to other rescue organizations to help find homes for these dogs, and they are also looking for fosters who can care for large dogs. The organization is also appealing for volunteers to assist with walking the dogs at their facility.

If you would like to help by fostering or volunteering, please visit their website at Alternatively, if you are a rescue organization and would like to offer assistance in finding homes for these dogs, please email


Here is the contract between Jefferson County and BrightSide Animal Center that was adopted at Thursday afternoon's commission meeting:

Article Topic Follows: Pets

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content