Jim Willis Adopts all animals from a GA shelter

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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 12:40 pm

Subject: Jim Willis "adopts" all animals from a shelter in Ga being closed

can yall believe that the head of our dept of ag (tommy irvin)
wanted to give these dogs to anyone who showed up?

"How Could You?" Author Adopts All "Canine Angels"
and Tells GA Dept. of Ag "No Thanks"

ATLANTA, GA, MAY 31, 2006 -
Over 150 dogs of the Canine Angels Rescue in Dewy
Rose, GA, were saved from an uncertain fate at the
hands of the Georgia Department of Agriculture when
best-selling author Jim Willis, founder of The
Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust, adopted them Tuesday. He
wonders about the coincidence of Dept. of Ag
Commissioner Tommy Irvin issuing a press release early
this morning offering all of the dogs for adoption at
no cost, "as is," beginning Friday morning and
continuing Saturday. The DoA plans to shutdown the
rescue facility as of June 3 in a move supporters call
"unfair" and "persecution."

"I appreciate the State's interest in the future
welfare of the dogs," Willis said, "but I and my
agents, staff, volunteers, and attorneys will be
making responsible decisions about the placement of my

Irvin's press release stated: "Interested persons
should come with a portable kennel to transport the
adopted dog. These animals are offered free of charge
'as-is' without warranty, or guarantee of condition on
a first-come basis."

Willis said it is another example of a department of
agriculture being inadequate to deal with the needs of
companion animals. "Everyone in animal welfare and
rescue knows what happens to 'free to good home'
animals," he said. "They end up as training bait for
illegal dogfighting, in laboratory experiments,
imprisoned by animal hoarders, or as disposable
property with no 'value.'" He said accepted standards
of placement and an adoption contract will be used to
rehome the dogs and that he and his agents welcome the
assistance of other legitimate rescues and
sanctuaries. He said Friends of Canine Angels has been
communicating with a candidate for DoA commissioner,
Gary Black, about his Companion Animal Coalition and
proposed companion animal initiative.

"The State of Georgia should be grateful," Willis said
"This removes from the State the responsibility of
caring for and placing the animals. We have it in
writing from the DoA legal services officer that
Canine Angels is authorized to transfer ownership of
the dogs to legitimate rescues and shelters. What was
Canine Angels is now a satellite placement effort of
Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust. The State also has more
important matters to deal with. Questions about
improper behavior of some state and county employees
have been raised in the media. In addition to a copy
of a petition with over 1,400 signatures in support of
Canine Angels being delivered to the Governor today, a
sworn affidavit by an eyewitness to some criminal
behavior is going to the Governor and the Ag
commissioner. We have photographic and other proof
that we intend to give to the media. We have media
there today and more scheduled to come throughout the

Willis is the best-selling author of the book "Pieces
of My Heart" and his books have been published in
seven countries. He is best known for an essay about
an unwanted dog, "How Could You?" that has been
translated into over 40 languages. When the story has
been read on the radio in major cities such as
Toronto, it has stopped traffic as drivers pulled off
the road in tears, unable to drive. Whenever it has
been published in newspapers, local shelters have seen
a surge in adoptions. He founded Tiergarten in Germany
in 1990 and has personally been responsible for
placing several thousand animals.

"I've been in touch with some of the national animal
protection organizations and have asked for their
support in this placement effort," Willis said. "Randy
Grim, the author known for his book about Quentin the
Miracle Dog has written to Irvin and asked him to
support this effort. We've got several of the media
coming out this week and finally the truth is being
told about the wonderful efforts of Canine Angels and
its founders Sue Wells and Lynette Rowe. None of us
understands why they have been persecuted and we
wonder if their private relationship has anything to
do with it.

"My story 'How Could You?' has an all too-true sad
ending," Willis said. "But for the former dogs of
Canine Angels, now my dogs, they can look forward to a
future of love and good care as companion animals."

Wells and Rowe said the rescue action by Willis and a
group of loyal supporters calling themselves Friends
of Canine Angels is nothing short of a miracle.

"Our work isn't done yet," said Don Hill, a former
animal control officer supervisor and former director
of a Best Friends satellite sanctuary, and now an
authorized agent of The Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust.
"After we place the dogs in good homes we want Canine
Angels' license restored so they can continue their
much needed rescue efforts and we want the $15,000 in
fines dropped that the DoA is forcing Sue and Lynette
to pay. They don't need that. They did the animal
welfare work that should have been done by the county
for years with very little thanks or assistance."

"It would kill us and cancel out over six years of
hardwork if anything bad were to happen to those
dogs," Wells said. Wells suffers from multiple
sclerosis and supporters say the ordeal of dealing
with the DoA and trying to save her animals' lives has
exhausted her.

Friends of Canine Angels invites all supporters to
come for coffee and doughnuts early Friday morning at
the sanctuary. Irvin's press release stated that the
DoA adoption effort would begin at 10 a.m. Friday.
Willis said adoption and other information will be
placed on the Canine Angels website with a link for
donations to care and transportation costs for the

"About all the DoA can have then is a cup of coffee
and a doughnut. They certainly can't have any of my
dogs. They'll be met by friendly Canine Angels
supporters and the legal documentation that those dogs
are mine and I and my agents will be making all
decisions about them. The DoA has no jurisdiction over
a sanctuary and The Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust. If
they aren't invited onto the property they will be

Prospective adopters can come to the facility at 2179
Pulliam Mill Road, Dewy Rose, beginning today, by
Call: 706-213-9001 or 706-296-4488 for more
Email: adopt@negacanineangels.com
and visit their website at:

Everyone is encouraged to sign the on-line petition in
support of Canine Angels:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/ ... i?neGAngel

See also today's story in The Athens Banner Herald,
"Deadline to Move Dogs from Rescue Looms":
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Postby Purple » June 12th, 2006, 1:02 pm

WOW! What a story! A real example of "stepping up"!
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Postby Sue » June 12th, 2006, 2:59 pm

Wasn't there something going around a while ago about him being a hoarder?? Or am I confusing him with someone else :|
Bull Meister
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Postby Purple » June 12th, 2006, 3:49 pm

Did I misunderstand it then? I thought he was going to adopt them all out!? :|
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Postby Sue » June 12th, 2006, 4:49 pm

The story I heard was a WHILE ago... I can't remember the specifics....
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Postby Maryellen » June 12th, 2006, 5:11 pm

the shelter was going to euth all the dogs, so he told them he would take them and adopt them out.
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Postby Sue » June 12th, 2006, 6:18 pm

Found it... Seems the charges were dropped against him.

74 Animals Removed from Forward Township Home

Update: In a hearing held on September 16 in the court of Magisterial District Justice Ernest Marraccini, Forward Township resident Erin Schmidt was found guilty on two counts of animal cruelty, one for all of the dogs and one for the cats that had been in her possession. Animal Friends Humane Officer Katie Waters and Western Pennsylvania Humane Officer Cathy Bricker had investigated the conditions at Erin and Stephen Schmidt's home at 8203 Mentor Road on August 12 and found 36 dogs, 20 cats, 10 birds, 6 rodents, and 13 ferrets inside the home. Violations included lack of sanitary shelter and health problems. Particularly disturbing was the account of a couple dozen dogs living in a dark dungeon-like cellar, some of who were kept confined for up to three years. The Schmidts ran "rescue" operations known as Pets A Plenty and A Pet's Life Rescue. Jim Willis, another resident of the address was also cited. Justice Marraccini dismissed all charges against Willis and Stephen Schmidt.

Erin Schmidt must pay fines of $800 and restitution in the amount of $50 per animal seized. Animal Friends was awarded custody of all the animals that had been removed except for two dogs that will be returned to Schmidt.

Original Press Release, issued August 18, 2005:

Animal Friends humane officers, assisted by staff and volunteers, removed 74 animals found living in deplorable conditions from a home in Forward Township earlier today. Officers transported a large number of the animals, including dogs, cats, parakeets, rats, mice, cockatiels, cockatoo and a guinea pig, to Animal Friends for further evaluation and care. Many of these animals had been kept in extremely unsanitary, confined conditions and are suffering from flea infestation and urine burns, among other problems, and in need of veterinary care. Upon evaluation, some of these animals will be transferred to appropriate foster homes or rescue facilities.

The owner of the Elizabeth home, Erin Schmidt, has been charged with running an illegal kennel on the property and will receive numerous humane citations. House guest Jim Willis has been charged with dog law violations. Details regarding all charges against Schmidt and Willis are pending a complete investigation.

Animal Friends is asking for the public's help in this case in the form of financial contributions, cat and dog food and foster homes. For more information or to help, please call Animal Friends at 412.566.2103.

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Postby Purple » June 12th, 2006, 6:55 pm

Jeez, I hope the dogs aren't going into that.
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