Have you adopted a pet from Hearts for Hounds? Share your experience and talk about the arrests here in our comments.
A defense fund was created Thursday by a Long Beach animal hospital for those seeking to help well-known known dog rescue activist Bonnie Sheehan, who was arrested in Tennessee for animal endangerment on Tuesday. Sheehan and a rescue volunteer for her Hearts for Hounds group were transporting 148 dogs in a U-Haul truck and minivan under what arresting authorities called filthy conditions.
Sheehan's friends said late Thursday that the Long Beach Room and Groom kennel that formerly housed the 148 rescue dogs was shut down by the city. The has not returned calls to confirm this.
One friend, Jay Williams, speaking on behalf of the arrested rescuers, said that the move of the dogs was planned well in advance and not a rush job, contrary to some reports that suggested the women were fleeing a city inspection. Sheehan has owned a farm outside Roanoke and for more than a year told clients that she needed to relocate the rescue dogs because adoptions have plummeted in Southern California with the rise in unemployment.
Nearly 10,000 dogs were euthanized by Los Angeles County alone last year. (See the accompanying pdf.)
"Anyone who has known Bonnie or Hearts for Hounds for 30 minutes or less knows that Bonnie loves the dogs and was moving them to a state where research showed there were more adoptions," Williams said Thursday. "I created an 800 number just so she could contact me from jail, and I don't think she was given the message. They are still trying to get attorneys arranged."
He added: "It's very sad, because she and Pamela [King-McCracken] had an adoption fair planned and advertised for this Saturday, and those dogs are going to be kept as evidence instead."
Ambassador Dog and Cat Hospital of Long Beach and Sunset Beach (562-427-2889) was accepting donations for the defense of Sheehan, 55, and her longtime friend, King-McCracken, 59. Both were arrested on aggravated animal cruelty charges Tuesday after a routine traffic stop led to the alleged finding: 148 thirsty and hungry dogs enclosed in crates with fecal and urine. Bail for the Long Beach women was set at $100,000 each and a hearing tentatively set for Jan. 24 or 25, friends said.
"Accused murderers or robbers have lower bail than Bonnnie and Pamela do," wrote one rescue volunteer.
Here is the latest local newspaper coverage of the case in Tennessee. Sheehan and McCracken have not been reachable for comment.
The story will be updated as it develops. Have you adopted a dog from Sheehan or Hearts for Hounds, and what was your experience? Tell us in comments.