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Film about Idaho livestock guardian dog rescue premiers at Sun Valley Film Festival

Unega tails of the guardians
Nikola Lakic, Bella Chaffey Lakic

The Sun Valley Film Festival kicks off this week. One of the screenings on Wednesday is of a documentary shot in Idaho.

The film called Unega: Tales of the Guardians is about Unega Mountain Dog Rescue, a Blaine County nonprofit started in 2015.

Filmmakers Bella Chaffey Lakic and Nikola Lakic explore the work the organization does to rescue and rehabilitate dogs that protect sheep as they graze in the mountains from predators.

“These guys can go off a mile or two just to explore and make sure the perimeter is secure," Nikola said.

In Idaho, dogs like Great Pyrenees and Akbash are classified as “production animals.” The organization said that can lead to their mistreatment or abandonment.

“They’re a dog at the end of the day, and they should have the same legal protections in the eyes of the law," Nikola said.

However, the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission said some working guard dogs have been taken by people who mistakenly thought they were abandoned. Under Idaho law, the commission said, it's a felony to take livestock guardian dogs off the landscape.

Unega said it's starting a new program to work more closely with ranchers.

The film will premiere Wednesday night at the Sun Valley Opera House, and the filmmakers will be on stage with some rescued livestock dogs.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on X @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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