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12/20/05 - We Showed Up...
12/06/05 - Catch As Catch Can
12/7/06 - A tribute to perseverance
11/23/06 - Kat 5 Is Thankful...
10/19/06 - 20 Dogs Get New Lives
8/15/06 - Saving the Pets of New Orleans
4/29/06 - Puppy Mill Dogs Auctioned
We Showed Up: Katrina Aftermath
December 20, 2005 : 12:00 AM
Larry Roberts, a co-founder of KAT 5 Animal Rescue, finally catches a pit bull from under a house in New Orleans that he and Danakay Deutsch had attempted to catch for 3 days. This dog and its companion had been abandoned by the owners and were starving after 3 months of being locked in a yard.
Photo by Danakay Deutsch
Catch as Catch Can
By Bill Sasser
People thought 'Joe from Ohio,' one of hundreds of animal rescuers, was a little nuts with his obsessive search for puppies — until he found four of them.
It was the second week in November, and our posse of animal rescuers was still out in the Eighth Ward, searching for abandoned pets left behind during the evacuation from Hurricane Katrina. We had sledgehammers and zeal, but searching for dogs loose on the street was becoming quixotic. By then, a lot of the animals being brought to the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Chef Menteur Highway in Gentilly had been locked inside their owners' houses for the past 10 weeks.
As part of a patchwork quilt of freelance animal rescuers from across the country, I readily concede that a few of us based at that Winn-Dixie parking lot could have been called overzealous. A bartender I knew in Bywater stopped speaking to me for several weeks when she heard what I was doing. She had lost her cat, which was in no need of rescuing, to a group that locals began calling "those animal-rescue people." Another friend had stopped two women, twice, from breaking into his neighbor's house with a crowbar.
It's difficult to explain to distraught native New Orleanians -- most of whom had already lost a lot if not everything -- that some of us had been here for weeks. We were here when the only other inhabitants of New Orleans were military troops, police and thousands of trapped and displaced animals. Thousands more pets had already died. Put on the blinders of a cause and other sensibilities often fall by the wayside. We barely even knew each other beyond our first names, maybe our hometowns, focusing instead on breaking down those doors. Guilty myself, I did it a half-dozen times one morning at an apartment complex in eastern New Orleans with an animal-control officer from Portland, Ore. Behind one of those doors, we found a 6-month-old pit bull locked in a kitchen closet.
A cause can be a clarifying, liberating, intoxicating high. Joe from Ohio (as I knew him) was using his sledgehammer to crack through waterlogged floorboards. Three days before, he had found a sweet collie-shepherd mix at a house around the corner. The dog was lactating, so instead of a rescue, Joe kept coming back to follow her around and sniff out her puppies, if they were still alive. At this point, dogs were eating dogs on the streets of New Orleans. He had spent an hour with a flashlight crawling under this house, dilapidated at best before Katrina wrecked it. Sporting the sunburn, hairdo and stubble of a guy who's been living out of his car for a month, Joe's boyish Midwestern twang belied a preternatural, near-manic energy. About 5-foot-4 and weighing maybe 140, he had the perfect build for the extreme sport that dog catching in New Orleans had become.
I sat on a doorstep with two other, less-zealous animal rescuers. A woman from Wisconsin wondered when you should just take the dog you know you can save and let the rest go. Joey, a Tulane med student with unexpected time on his hands, observed, "You want to save every animal you can, but you're never going to save them all." A few blocks away sat a house on North Villere Street where I had seen four pit bulls that had drown. "Four dead dogs on logging chains in backyard," a volunteer from the Winn-Dixie had spray-painted on the house back in September, adding a postscript to the front door, "You Should Go To Jail."
The pit bulls were still out back, but after all the dead and maimed animals of the past six weeks, it wasn't a scene I felt any need to describe again. So we were just talking, sledgehammer blows punctuating the unspoken subtext of our sidelong glances -- we were wondering if this guy from Ohio was a nut -- when Joe yelled, "I got 'em!"
And somehow, miraculously, he had. From down in the dark muck he reached through rotting wood and pulled up, one by one, four puppies no more than 2 weeks old. "I tell ya, I did some partying when I was younger, and my dad, he was a Marine, and he can't understand why I came down here, and why I went home and then came back down here again," Joe says. "But this, nothing I've ever done compares to this. The only payoff here is the pure joy of doing what I'm doing, and brother, right now I'm banking!"Ê
By mid-November, the animal rescuers at the Winn-Dixie had dwindled to about a dozen diehards who would end up staying through the end of the month. More than half of them were looking for jobs and apartments, intent on staying in New Orleans. Two months earlier the scene had looked like a cross between a Lollapalooza concert and a M*A*S*H unit for Noah's ark. Dozens of rescued animals -- an inexhaustible menagerie including goats and iguanas and chickens and ferrets as well as dogs and cats -- came in every day. Frustrated with the bureaucracy of Lamar-Dixon Expo Center -- where animals evacuated during the hurricanes were first housed -- and the enormity of the tragedy surrounding him, in mid-September Mark Martin, a volunteer from Georgia, had set up camp here, using the parking lot as a way station while he rescued animals from Gentilly and the Ninth Ward.
More volunteers arrived, and at first they were bringing in a hundred dogs a day, using boats and rubber waders on streets where bodies still floated. At night they slept in the backs of their trucks and listened to gunshots in the neighborhood.
Martin, who owns a pet supply business in Georgia, got on his cell phone and began posting on the Internet. Within a week "the Winn-Dixie" became a phenomenon in the larger story of post-Katrina New Orleans. Donations and volunteers came in from across the country. Dozens of kennels and cages were set up under two circus tents. Volunteers camped out under the stars. Threatened several times with being shut down by the city and the LA/SPCA, Martin and Richard Crook, a former firefighter from Michigan who took over the logistics of the encampment, negotiated alliances with the National Guard and federal law enforcement that kept them in business.
Hippies, punkers, yuppies, rednecks, activists, renegades, do-gooders; we were none and all of the above. Many of us had no experience whatsoever. No great shakes as an animal handler, I'd like to think of the dozen or so cats and dogs I personally rescued as a sort of karmic insurance policy. As much as the animals, it's the people we will all remember. Tom from New York was a retired firefighter who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11. Tall, bald, bespectacled and a few decades older than most of us, he selflessly cleaned kennel pans in 90-degree weather for two months. Larry from Atlanta made four trips away from his billboard business to spend weeks crawling under shotgun houses with a catch pole. His slow Southern drawl never betrayed a hint of uncool, even when a mongrel bit him in the crotch and sent him to a hospital for half a dozen stitches.
The two Bens, one from Idaho, the other from Georgia, both around 25 and identified by their hair -- Red Ben and Dread Ben -- met in a boat full of dogs and became an animal-rescuing duo, starting a friendship that will probably last a lifetime. Women proved to be some of the best organizers and, in the case of Cassandra (also from Ohio), dog catchers as well. A tall, suntanned tomboy somewhere past 40, she wrangled pit bulls under shotguns by day and volunteers under the circus tents by night.Ê
Kelli from Seattle, a twentysomething real estate mogul, left her business to manage dog kennels in a New Orleans parking lot for six weeks. "For most of us doing this, we're here because something was missing in our lives back home," she tells me. "I have no idea what I'm doing when I go back, but I think it's going to change my life."
Everyone I talked to -- as a recovering journalist, my tape recorder and camera were always handy -- would say the same thing. Certainly it was true for me. When I left New Orleans last spring and moved back to North Carolina, burned out on the freelance life I'd been living for five years, I had no intention of coming back. Stuck in a deep rut, in late August I was planning a move to New York, then spent the first three weeks of September watching a city I loved sink into an abyss. Finally, it was time to do something else, and at least the destination was perfectly clear.Ê
As for Joe from Ohio, he's staying in New Orleans through at least the end of the year. "There're too many animals here that still need to be saved," he says. "As long as they're here, I'm here." Success by Stealth Marilyn Knapp Litt never intended to become an animal rescuer. Still, without ever setting foot in the hurricane-ravaged region, she has facilitated the return of 490 pets to their owners. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina evacuees filled four shelters in her hometown of San Antonio, the retired federal webmaster decided to volunteer with the Red Cross.
At first, her intention was to extend some Texas hospitality and take displaced people where they needed or wanted to go -- mothers to the mall, teenagers to a local pool. But her efforts were stymied by restrictions. "So a few of us made up our own badges," Litt recalls. "We used the name Stealth, so now we were just people helping other people in spite of rules and regulations."
As the days wore on, Litt used her 20 years of computer experience, along with those of a small cadre of friends, to reconnect families by searching Katrina databases. Eventually, evacuees requested her help in locating pets. Her postings on the NOLA.com forum caught the attention of Petfinder's founder Betsy Saul, who recruited Knapp to find the owners of found pets with identification or rabies tags.
Less than four months later, Litt has developed a case management and audit system and oversees the efforts of more than 700 Stealth sleuths around the clock. Supported only by the determination of individual volunteers with no government oversight or big corporate budget, the group has perhaps the highest reunification rate among rescue organizations.
"This is most meaningful thing I've ever done," Litt says. "It's just lucky. I'm not working. I know computer stuff. And, we've got a lot of people -- some from as far away as England, Canada and Belgium. Many have said they really wanted to come to the area and help but couldn't. This is their contribution. It's addictive. People are neglecting their jobs and other responsibilities to help. It's hit or miss."
Not every story has had a happy ending. Of the more than 2,800 cases reviewed, more than 1,600 remain unsolved, and 47 owners have relinquished their pets for adoption. Some owners have been contacted only to find the shelter adopted out the animal in the interim.
Litt predicts the Internet group will disband by Dec. 31. By that time, all shelters will begin adopting out the remaining Katrina pets, and the reluctant rescuer may get some well-deserved rest. -- Hirsch
If you are still searching for a pet, the most comprehensive database and sophisticated search engine is the Hurricane Pets Animal Emergency Response Network on Petfinder.com.
Once you arrive at http://disaster.petfinder.com/emergency, you can view reports on found pets that now reside in shelters across the United States and Canada. The database searches can be qualified by breed, gender, microchip number, or identifying characteristic such as a scar or distinctive collar.
Searching the site can be frustrating. There is no sure-fire formula for success. Unfortunately, the database is far from complete, and some paperwork on animals was lost when they were transported to shelters. Many search-and-rescue teams came from out of state and were unfamiliar with the city, and bleary-eyed volunteers shot countless photographs of traumatized animals under poor lighting conditions and filled out mounds of paperwork on thousands of animals each night at Lamar-Dixon.
The result is many errors regarding everything from transposed zip codes (i.e., a pet found in 70112 marked as 70122) to mislabeled breeds (i.e., a bichon misidentified as a poodle).
To navigate most effectively, begin putting in as many details as possible. Unless your pet had his or her name on an I.D. tag, searching by name is futile. If your search yields no leads, cast your net wider by beginning a search with only the breed and gender of the animal and narrow down the entries from there. Then, try breeds that could be easily mistaken for your pets' based on appearance or size. Also try different color variation for the breed (i.e., yellow, chocolate, black Labrador retriever) and even mixed breed.
If you have several pets, do not assume they will be at the same location. Many people have found their animals in different parts of the country. If you see an animal that looks like your pet, contact the shelter with the animal either by email or the phone number posted in the listing. If none is available, call HSUS at the number listed below. Even if your early attempts yield no results, continue to check the web site often, as many groups are still in the process of getting their animals loaded onto the site.
And, most important, post your contact information and pet's description -- and photos if you have them -- by clicking on "I've Lost My Pet." Many shelters with Katrina pets frequently scour the site looking for owners.
If you have no access to computers or need further assistance, call (800) HUMANE-1. -- Hirsch
A tribute to perseverance
December 7, 2006 : 12:00 AM
Kat 5 surmounts tremendous obstacles to place more than 100 dogs from the former Canine Angels sanctuary – but remaining animals still need your help.
By Claire Davis
The Legal Animal
Best Friends Animal Society
Pictured: Grayson, one of the former Canine Angels dogs who is still looking for a home.
After months of work, a lot of sacrifice, and more than a few headaches, Kat 5 Animal Rescue is down to just a handful of dogs from the former Canine Angels sanctuary who still need homes.
Representatives of Kat 5 have now left the property of the closed Georgia sanctuary, as the former sanctuary operators, Sue Wells and Lynette Rowe, have returned to take possession of their land.
Over the past several months, Kat 5 has worked with volunteers and other organizations to place more than 130 dogs into homes, rescue groups, and sanctuaries around the country.
Kat 5 Executive Director Susan Meyer calls the outpouring of assistance and support in this effort “heartening.”
“There is a lady in California who has donated towards almost every transport for these animals to a safe haven. Rescuers that we know from Katrina have taken time off of work and driven over 60 hours to transport some of these dogs. Local volunteers have dedicated themselves to socializing these dogs. . . . Shelters have opened their hearts to these animals,” she says.
“We do this for the animals, the added benefit is seeing humanity at it's finest, people willing to go the extra mile to save the life of an animal.”
Despite its success, Kat 5 is still struggling to help about 15 former Canine Angels dogs, many of whom are elderly, shy, or poorly socialized. Please visit to read about the dogs still in need of homes.
The organization is currently paying to board six of the dogs, while four others are staying at a volunteer’s house. An additional five dogs were set loose upon Wells and Rowe’s return to the property, and Kat 5 is working with local animal control to try to trap them.
“I want people to know that although we have left the property, we are not done,” says Meyer. “We still have animals we are trying to help, and we still need help.”
Meyer says the group is still in need of donations to fund the rescue effort, which continues to rack up costs for boarding, feeding, training, and vet care for the remaining animals. The leaders of Kat 5 have reportedly put tens of thousands of their own money into the rescue effort.
The organization is also in need of homes for the remaining dogs, as well as experienced trainers and foster homes to help train, socialize, and evaluate some of the animals.
Many of the dogs at the Canine Angels sanctuary had reportedly gone years with little human contact. After weeks of concentrated work, rescuers were able to turn many of the dogs around, but some were so fearful that volunteers were not able to successfully work with them. Some of these dogs had spent almost all of their lives at the Canine Angels facility.
According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Wells and Rowe were just unable to properly care for all the animals on their property – who at one time numbered over 250.
“Personally, from what I understand about hoarders and collectors, that is what they were in our book,” says David Gunter, general counsel for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “They tried to find excuses not to adopt animals out, the animals were dying from fighting one another, and there were terrible conditions for housing, especially during the winter time.”
The state Department of Agriculture had cited Rowe and Wells for 62 violations of the animal welfare code, and they had racked up more than $15,000 in fines, before they signed a consent agreement to close the sanctuary in May. Wells and Rowe later reneged on the terms of the consent agreement, trying to prevent the Department of Agriculture from closing the sanctuary and seizing the dogs, and eventually signing over ownership of all the animals to North Carolina animal advocate Jim Willis.
After Kat 5 became involved to care for and place the animals, Rowe and Wells kicked Kat 5 off the property and then abandoned the property and the animals, leaving several animals locked in their trailer without food and water. They are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 22 on 13 counts of animal cruelty in relation to this abandonment.
“I think Kat 5 has done an outstanding job, especially considering the position they jumped into, they put a lot of time and effort into trying to get these animals adopted,” Gunter says. “If it had not been for Kat 5, we would still be battling to get these animals adopted.”
Gunter says that Rowe and Wells have tried to block the rescue effort from the start, and that they and their supporters made things very difficult for Kat 5.
“There were met with resistance at every turn,” he says. “They were basically trying to thwart them at every step in adopting animals out.”
In addition to the animal cruelty charges in local court, Gunter says, Rowe and Wells are also still facing an administrative action from the Department of Agriculture, since they violated the terms of the consent agreement.
Gunter says he wants to try to make sure that Rowe and Wells aren’t allowed to operate an animal sanctuary in the state again. He also wants to try to figure out a better process to address similar situations in the future.
“We will be addressing it during this legislative session, to see if we can get some funding from the state, and to get agreements with some other organizations and rescue groups,” he says. “The next time we have a large number of animals that we need to get away from where they are currently housed, maybe we can figure out a cooperative agreement to get it done.”
Please help Kat 5 complete their mission and rescue the rest of the dogs from the former Canine Angels sanctuary.
Kat 5 Is Thankful this Thanksgiving For All of the Animals Saved and to You
November 23, 2006 : 12:00 AM
Photo of Miles and Bronson by Betsy Shi
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Kat 5 Animal Rescue is thankful this Thanksgiving for all of the animals that have been saved in Dewy Rose. It has been over six months and we are now down to 20 dogs, the pig and boar. Kat 5 Animal Rescue came in to care for and safely place 150 dogs, 13 cats and 2 pigs after they were seized by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in a hoarder/ cruelty case at the now defunct Canine Angels.
Kat 5 is committed to saving all of these animals. We would like to thank the wonderful people who have aided this effort either by spending time with the dogs, transporting animals to safe havens, taking in animals, donating supplies and donating funds for this rescue effort. These animals would not have been saved without you. Our efforts continue and we appreciate your support. We are not done; the remaining animals still need our help at getting a much deserved chance. Please help if you are able.
A list of the animals needing safe placement:
Ways to donate:
to send checks:
Kat 5 Animal Rescue
2807 Allen St. #790
Dallas, TX. 75204
Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you!
20 Dogs Get New Lives; They are Going Home
October 19, 2006 : 12:00 AM
Saturday, October 14th, tails were wagging and as 20 dogs were preparing to depart Dewy Rose, Georgia for a sanctuary in Montana. Some of the dogs looked frightened. They did not know that are not going to be neglected or abused. They do not know that they are going home.
These dogs have arrived safely in Montana. Six of these 20 dogs are already in foster care. They are doing well. Thank you to all who made this happen.
Donations towards this and future transports are still needed.
Saving the Pets of New Orleans: Documentary: "The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue".
August 15, 2006 : 12:00 AM
Nobody at Winn-Dixie expected to be in a film about our rescue work but that is exactly what happened.
Saving the pets of New Orleans
A film about those who helped pets after Katrina is heart-rending and hopeful
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Almost a year ago, like everyone else, I sat transfixed in front of the television, watching the frightened faces of New Orleans. But also, the plight of the city's pets became personal when I interviewed volunteers with the Oregon Humane Society who were in Louisiana in early September rescuing the animals for a story that ran on the front page of The Oregonian.
I believed the sadness of that time would never leave me. But it did. Before long my memories were pretty much a Walt Disney version of the tragedy. I mostly thought about the cats and dogs that found their ways to new happy homes.
Those good stories are important, but if we forget the rest, we are likely to face it again. If better planning for pets isn't in place, we could even face the same kind of tragedy in our own homes.
This week, Portland filmmaker Mike Shiley's new documentary, "Dark Water Rising: The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues," premieres at Cinema 21 and then moves to Laurelhurst Theater.
It's a sometimes painful, always poignant reminder of the dark days and sometimes sad endings of the lives of the animals of New Orleans. It's also a portrait of the courage of a disparate band of rescuers, and an insight into the dark side of pets in America. The rescuers
"When our government fails us -- and it will fail us again -- there are people from all walks of life that will put down their lives and go down and do the right thing," Shiley says. "That is the real message of the film. It's people standing up and taking over when elected officials fail us."
The film documents men and women crawling through barred windows, grimacing from the smell and the grime, triumphantly saving a scrawny cat. It shows them freeing snarling pit bulls, left alone in yards, kept in place by huge log chains padlocked around their collars. The rescuers were diverse, united by the single goal of saving as many animals as possible.
Much of the film focuses on a group of "gonzo" rescuers who worked outside the confines of authority developed by the organized rescue agencies. This group commandeered a Winn-Dixie as their headquarters.
The ragtag Winn-Dixie band were tough people. One man, arms covered with tattoos, cigarette hanging from his mouth, said, "I've seen dead people before. Dead people don't make me cry. But dead animals: The tears well up."
The Winn-Dixie crowd becomes a metaphor for the animals.
"The rescued pit bulls had their scars, and they were rescued by people with scars from their own fights," Shiley says.
The total efforts of all the groups -- from highly organized to loosely -- were impressive. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 animals were saved.
While heroism is important, we must never forget the horrors of that place, Shiley says. The film documents some happy endings, but also shows the sometimes brutal ends to the lives of the animals of New Orleans.
Before Katrina, between 50,000 and 100,000 domestic animals were in the city. "Eighty percent of the animals of the city died," Shiley says. He shows some of these deaths graphically. (Hint for moviegoers: There's always music when the sad scenes are showing; you can close your eyes and just listen to the narrative -- that's what I mostly did.)
"I'm a documentary filmmaker. It's my job to show this," Shiley says. Some of the hardest footage to watch documents the lives of pit bulls. Rescuers estimate that at least 65 percent of the dogs that were left behind were pit bulls, and many of them were fighting dogs. Shiley includes controversial footage of a pit bull fight to underline the cruelty of the "sport."
"I put in the footage because of the audio of a dog screaming, like I would scream. I want to show that dogs get hurt, and they scream," he says.
Many of the rescued dogs are covered with scars from dogfights. The saddest part of the movie is what happened to dogs whose owners brought them through the flood to a school. When the people were rescued, they were forced to leave their dogs behind. The notes on the schoolroom walls made clear the fears of the people. One dog owner scrawled, "There is a very nice dog in here. Please do not shoot her. Please find her a good home. Her name is Angel." Angel was shot, like every other dog in the building, apparently by a St. Bernard Parish deputy sheriff.
The grimness of this movie is balanced by scenes of joy. There are jubilant reunions when people find their pets at an enormous makeshift shelter. One smiling woman clutches her cat a month after the hurricane, promising him tuna. "Let mama hold you," she croons. And there is the story of Rita, a pit bull found after Hurricane Rita tore through the city. She was tied on a short leash to a tree, her foot injured badly. This sweet dog was brought back to Oregon and adopted at the Oregon Humane Society. The film shows Rita going home with her new family, and later shows the family's little girl happily playing dress-up with the smiling dog. Rita looks perfect in pearls and giant butterfly wings.
Could it happen here?
Portland is among America's most animal-friendly cities. We go dining with our dogs and probably have more doggy-day-care businesses per capita than any other place on the planet. What happened in New Orleans couldn't happen here, right?
Wrong, Shiley says.
"We don't have a pet-evacuation plan in Portland. What do we have to do to get the attention of our local officials?"
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed a version of the PETS (Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards) Act, which was passed by the House in May. That legislation will require states to include pets as part of their disaster planning.
Still, what that plan will look like in Oregon isn't clear. If our homes are turned to rubble by an earthquake, will the rescue helicopter pick up our pets with us? Will they dispatch someone later to get the pets? Will animal rescuers accompany the crews who rescue humans? I spoke with representatives of the governor's office, the city of Portland office of emergency management, and the Oregon Humane Society, and every one said that animals would be a priority in the case of a disaster. But there are no plans in place for animal evacuations, and no one knew exactly how it would work. With no plan, our pets aren't safe.
The film is scheduled for a 12-city tour. Plans also are being finalized for showings in England, the Netherlands and Australia.
"So, our premiere in Portland this week really is a world premiere," Shiley says. The opening will include a party afterward that everyone who comes to the event can attend (no extra admission charge). Some of the "stars" of the film, including Rita the pit bull, will be at the event.
Shiley says he hopes people will come see the documentary and remember what happens when no plan is in place. It's a way that we can testify that the lives of our animals are entwined with our own -- and that those lives matter.
Oregonian Pet Talk columnist Deborah Wood is the author of 10 books, including "Little Dogs: Training Your Pint-Sized Companion." You can reach her at TaoBowwow@aol.com.
©2006 The Oregonian
To read more & to purchase Dark Water Rising please go to:
Puppy Mill Dogs Auctioned by Estate of Breeder: Animal Groups Unite to Save Dogs
April 29, 2006 : 12:00 AM
KAT 5 Animal Rescue learned of a situation regarding the auctioning off of puppies from a breeder's estate and joined efforts with other animal groups to buy and adopt out, as many as possible, to good homes rather than being used for breeding.
Puppy Mill Dogs Auctioned
Humane Society Members Anger Bidders
UPDATED: 7:55 pm EDT April 29, 2006
CARTERSVILLE -- After failing to halt a Bartow County puppy auction, animal rescue activists showed up at the event Saturday with thousands of dollars, and angered many in the crowd by outbidding them.
"These animals have lived in deplorable conditions for all their lives, being bred over and over and over again," said Eden Cherry of Southern Hope Humane Society. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Auctioneers sold 206 small-breed dogs that were taken from a puppy mill in Cartersville after the owner died. One sold for $855.
Humane society members said they bid on dogs if they feared they would wind up in other puppy mills. One member told WSB-TV they brought $40,000 to the auction.
Other bidders objected, with one woman shouting, "Why are you outbidding him? How rude!"
"They feel like they're going from one cage to another, but that's not what we do," Cherry said. "We vet them and then we make sure they get wonderful homes. They're going to be somebody's housepet and not be bred again."
Channel Two correspondent Tara Jones contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006 by WSBTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.