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Pets saved from Gulf area arrive in W.Va.

October 06, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

They looked remarkably well considering where they came from.

Forty-four cats and 10 dogs which were rescued from Hurricane Katrina-stricken areas in Louisiana and Mississippi arrived Tuesday night in Jefferson County as part of an effort to find new homes for the animals.

The pets were either rescued from storm-damaged areas or came from people who no longer could care for the animals, said Michael Mahrer, director of development and marketing for The National Humane Education Society.

The society is the parent organization for the Briggs Animal Adoption Center along U.S. 340 south of Charles Town.

The local adoption center is where 10 of the dogs and five of the cats will be kept in hopes of adopting them out, Mahrer said.

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Three cargo vans left Charles Town early Monday to pick up the animals and returned Tuesday by 11 p.m., Mahrer said.

Mahrer said 39 of the cats were sent to the Peace Plantation Animal Sanctuary in Walton, N.Y., Wednesday afternoon, Mahrer said.

The cats were sent to that facility, another parent organization of The National Humane Education Society, since that center was better equipped to handle them, Mahrer said.

Rescuing pets from hurricane-stricken areas has become a big operation. The animals are being sent to animal rescue groups across the country, said Mahrer.

"This is going to go on for a long time. They are going to find more animals," Mahrer said at the Briggs Animal Adoption Center.

The National Humane Education Society already has been involved in the relief efforts when it sent thousands of pounds of pet food and other pet products to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit, Mahrer said.

"As soon as the hurricane hit, we knew there was going to be a problem," Mahrer said.

The dogs and cats that were being kept at the Briggs Animal Adoption Center looked healthy and energetic. Two boxer mix dogs that were brought into a room for a photograph nuzzled each other and played.

All but one of the animals will be put up for adoption after they are quarantined for 10 days, Mahrer said.

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