A dog found in an abandoned mineshaft has died, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.
The dog, named “Fred” by rescuers, was found trapped in the mineshaft on Arizona State Trust land by an unidentified geologist Tuesday morning. The geologist contacted Mohave County Search and Rescue officials, who transported the animal to Low Cost Spay and Neuter, an animal clinic in Kingman. According to a statement Wednesday by Low Cost Spay and Neuter officials, Fred died Wednesday morning.
“His starvation was so severe,” the statement said, “His kidneys were not responding to treatment and he was unable to produce any urine. (Veterinary) starvation guidelines were followed, but his case was extremely severe with a low chance of survival. Based on his X-rays … he was in his senior years. We were happy he was able to spend his last night in a warm place with loving arms.”
The animal clinic received donations from concerned Mohave County residents throughout Tuesday evening, which Low Cost officials say will be enough to cover Fred’s medical costs.
According to U.S. Bureau of Land Management geologist Vince Beresford, the BLM is aware of thousands of abandoned mineshafts throughout Arizona and the U.S.
On BLM land alone, Beresford says almost 15,000 mines have inventoried throughout Arizona, and many other mines and mineshafts may yet remain undiscovered.
“Abandoned mineshafts are dangerous everywhere, not just in the desert,” Beresford said Wednesday. “Danger depends on their size and accessibility. Large, open features can be very dangerous due to unknown depths, unstable rock and general lack of oxygen inside.”
According to Beresford, the BLM attempts to fence or backfill such shafts when they are found, or install metal bars and wildlife-friendly gates with safety signs to keep outdoor recreationists safe.
Jim Bowen, of the Havasu 4-Wheelers off-highway recreation club, often ventures into the desert with fellow club members to close such mine shafts where he finds them.
“We’ve fenced about 70 or 80 of them,” Bowen said Wednesday. “But we fence them with three or four strands of barbwire. That’s not going to keep a dog out. I’d bet that dog chased something in there … those mine shafts can be anywhere from 10 to more than 60 feet deep.”
Fred was described as a male, German shepherd-mix with dark brown and tan coloring. He was believed to be about 7 years old, and was not microchipped.