"ARF" takes animals cross-country to find homes - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"ARF" takes animals cross-country to find homes

MADISON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Four puppies at Madison's Webster Animal Shelter, part of a litter of eight, are lucky. Two have been adopted already. But those that won't be adopted here in Mississippi will get a ride to Massachusetts in a luxury Mercedes van to find homes.

Chris McLaughlin travels to Mississippi from Massachusetts to get it done.

"This year we're going to be going every six weeks, but we're a little concerned that might be too much time in between transports, especially during puppy season, which we're coming into right now," she says.

Her non-profit organization, called Animal Rescue Front, or "ARF", began when Hurricane Katrina produced countless thousands of stray dogs and cats in the Southeast. McLaughlin found that there were many families willing to adopt in other parts of the country; dogs for the Northeast, and cats for the Northwest, where there's a strong spay and neuter program that keeps cat populations at bay.

McLaughlin doesn't do it alone. Madison Police Officer Amy Divine and her husband have made the trip themselves several times.

"You see the kids, they're so happy, playing on the ground, the dogs are licking on them, having a fun time, getting out of the van and relaxing," said Officer Divine. "It's heartwarming." 

ARF will make nine round-trip deliveries this year. But McLaughlin says she'd rather see the spay and neuter program in Mississippi get stronger, so the trips aren't necessary.

"The transport program is not sustainable long-term," she tells us. "We have to start spaying and neutering animals."

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