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BY TARA BECKER SVN REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the 300 animals seized from a Rochelle-area woman's home - and a few others in need of new digs - will be available for adoption Saturday at the DeKalb PetSmart.
The TAILS Humane Society Board of Directors has decided that all the animals in its shelters, as well as those rescued from an apparent pet hoarder - will be mingled and put on display in two tents at the store, to encourage people to adopt a pet based on the personal connection they make, not on the notoriety of the case, said Beth Drake, director of the society.
"We're not hiding the fact that some of the animals on Saturday are from the hoarding case," Drake said. "Prior to the adoption, we don't want to sway people's decisions on which animals to adopt, and we don't want them to adopt because the dog or cat is a 'celebrity.'"
TAILS also has decided to give the 200 to 300 folks who volunteered to take care of the animals in their temporary home in an airplane hangar, and who have formed bonds with their charges, first crack at adopting them, she said.
"We can't guarantee that there will be very many dogs to adopt," Drake said. "The majority of them might be adopted out through the volunteers themselves, but we still encourage people to come out. We have so many cats and other dogs that need a good home."
TAILS received custody of nearly 300, mostly purebred dogs, cats and birds on Oct. 23, after Barbara Munroe gave them up. The 65-year-old, who is receiving unspecified mental health treatment in a local hospital, has pleaded not guilty to 10 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and not caring for her pets; she has a pretrial conference Nov. 30.
Saturday, staff and volunteers moved the 106 dogs and 160 cats from the hangar into the TAILS shelter and into licensed animal foster homes throughout DeKalb, Sycamore and Naperville.
About 20 dogs with special needs will remain at the shelter or with licensed animal foster homes, and 50 cats with upper-respiratory problems also will not be adopted.
TAILS originally was unable to take 13 of Munroe's dogs because they exhibited aggressive or unsocial behavior; because of space issues at Lee County Animal Control, they were sent to the Whiteside County pound. Ten are now at the TAILS shelter; the other three are in the Lee County pound, and none have been euthanized, said Nancy Cullen, with Lee County Animal Control.
"When the dogs came in they were very timid and scared," Cullen said. "TAILS came out to evaluate them to make sure that they could be trusted around people and other animals. Hopefully, we can find a place for the other three."
In addition, 31 birds - parakeets, cockatiels, lovebirds and a canary - were taken to Ollie's Parrot Perch in DeKalb, and will be available for adoption at a later date.
"Unfortunately, because a lot of these birds are temperature-sensitive, we won't be able to have them out at PetSmart," Drake said. "We need to decide what our best option is."
Reach Tara Becker at (815) 625-3600 or (800) 798-4085, ext. 570. Reach Tara Becker at (815) 284-2222 or (800) 798-4085, ext. 570.