09/18/06 — Volunteer group finds homes for puppies

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Volunteer group finds homes for puppies

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 18, 2006 1:48 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Two women loaded armfuls of pups into Kim Loyd's sport utility vehicle Friday outside the Duplin County Dog Pound.

Ms. Loyd is president and founder of the Duplin Animal Rescue Team.

"It will be a huge haul today," she told animal control clerk Julie Warren.

Most of the pups that come to the pound are left in boxes -- even when the pound is open.

"Those who do come inside the office say they can't find them a home, and they can't keep them," Ms. Warren said.

The two women ended up packing 23 pups into several cages, including a nursing litter and their sad-eyed terrier-mix mother, who got a cage of her own.

Safe and out of the din of the shelter, the mother dog pricked her ears and looked around. Soon, she was surrounded by all but one of her pups.

Ms. Loyd had a special spot for him.

"He probably won't make it," she said. "But I'll take him home and take care of him. I'll feed him egg yolks and yogurt, everything fattening."

That included a cheeseburger and part of the grilled chicken off her salad on her way home to Wilmington.

He still could not stand up when they reached home, but by Sunday, he was following her around the house.

Today he is living in a foster home awaiting a trip to an "adoption," that's held every Saturday in a neighboring county.

Ms. Loyd holds the adoptions at places like veterinarian offices, pet supply stores and department stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart. She usually adopts out an average of 13 pups a week, and some weeks, she said she has adopted as many as 25.

It is not easy to leave some behind in the shelter.

"It's the hardest thing in the world to go in and choose who is to live and who is to die, because when I go in the next week, those that remained are not there anymore, unless the county has agreed to hold them for me," she said.

"It's so sad, because the hounds and the big black labs are almost impossible to get adopted. I'm a big dog person. I have a St. Bernard-Lab mix, and she was rescued from Duplin County."

Ms. Loyd said the reason the DART volunteers have to take Duplin's unwanted puppies to other counties to be adopted is because people who live in Duplin "know they can get a $10 puppy" from the pound.

DART charges $60 for an adoption and has a policy to take the animal back no questions asked as long as the animal is not aggressive and has been spayed or neutered.

If the new owner provides proof of spay or neuter from one of the approved veterinarians, DART reimburses half of that cost.

The adoption contract contains a provision saying the new owner has until the pup is up to 6 months old to have the animal spayed. Ms. Loyd said 6 months is the age at which a female dog goes into her first heat.

Although a lot of the larger dogs are just strays, she said the puppies come in with their owners. "I believe because they just don't care," she said. "They keep the mama, and they don't get her fixed. It's really a vicious cycle."

Ms. Loyd said she has been told pups often turn up every year with a strange resemblance to a similar batch that arrived the previous year, and the year before that.

Ms. Loyd takes pictures of the pups that are not adopted at the adoption events she holds in the various counties and posts them on the Petfinder.com Web site.

"We've had people come from Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla., even Pennsylvania to pick up our puppies from the Web site," she said.

For information call 910-254-9913. To make a donation to DART write to Duplin Animal Rescue Team, Post Office Box 12353, Wilmington, N.C. 28405.