Local breeder surrenders 75 designer dogs

Published 2:38 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pets can be a comfort for people who live alone or have suffered a loss, but sometimes filling that void gets out of hand.

A terrible accident in 2006 that claimed the life of her husband caused a Pearl River County breeder to end up caring for more than 70 designer dogs, said Humane Society of South Mississippi Development Director Jodé Braxton-Highnight.

Braxton-Highnight said it was not until the county resident’s children convinced her that she had an excessive number of dogs that she voluntarily chose to relinquish the dogs to the Humane Society.

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“After losing my husband of 40 years to an accident, I became completely obsessed with my animals. They became my main source of love and comfort but, I have finally realized that my children are right — I have become a hoarder. I want the best for these animals and each of them will make many children and families very happy,” the unnamed resident said in the letter she sent to the Humane Society.

Most of the dogs relinquished to the center in Gulfport were from designer breeds, consisting of Shih Tzus, Maltese, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, but Braxton-Highnight said there are two medium breed dogs, one Shall Beagle and one White Lab mix.

The name of the breeder will not be released to protect her privacy, Braxton-Highnight said, but all of the animals she cared for are in good health and have had most of their medical needs cared met. Braxton-Highnight, said the only missing medical need was heart worm treatment.

“She did the best thing for herself and the most unselfish thing for these animals,” Braxton-Highnight said. “She did an amazing job (caring for them) for as long as she did.”

Most of the animals are young, between a year and three years old, but a few are about four years old, said Alternative Placement Manager Timothy Sartin. All of the animals were being groomed and updated on shots to prepare them for adoption, he said.

Interested families who would like to adopt one of the animals can visit the center in Gulfport beginning Wednesday after 10 a.m. Braxton-Highnight said the Humane Society is looking for permanent homes for the dogs where they will be loved.

For more information on the animals, interested parties can contact the Humane Society in Gulfport at 228-863-3354. The cost to adopt one of the dogs is $150, which includes spay and neuter, vaccinations, microchip, 30 days of pet health insurance, a free vet visit to participating vets, heartworm tests and a starter bag of Science Diet food, according to a release from the Humane Society.

Maria Diamond, Pearl River County’s SPCA president, said no one contacted their shelter about taking the animals in, but she says the shelter may not have had the room for so many dogs. However, Diamond said the local shelter would have taken in as many as it could and would have held on to them until they were adopted, provided they were in good health.

At times when the local shelter gets a overcrowded, Diamond said the SPCA will send pets in good health that have been spayed or neutered up north via the Rescue Wagon.