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Supporters Rally to Defend Arrested LB Dog Rescuer

Those with Hearts for Hounds pets reject the notion that its founder would endanger the 148 dogs she'd rescued and was driving to a Virginia farm. Now the city has shut her kennel, they say.

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.

MIKE CARVER January 30, 2012 at 05:48 AM
The state attorney general handling this case, Michael Dunavant, wasn't seeking justice for his wife who was killed 2008 in his car and being driven by one Melody Caldwell (who is on his facebook). He was home at the time and I believe he gave Melody Caldwell the keys to his sports car with his full knowledge of her inebriated condition. I believe that he had something to do with her death. That is why he covered it up. He used his awesome power to keep the matter out of the press for nealy 72 hours. The press never covered this sensational case like they are covering a case of a rescue group transporting dogs. This stinks. It is election time and Dunavant is using the old pull the heart strings over one dead dog. I am starting a campaign to open an investigation into Jackie Dunavant's death. I find it odd that this man, who received $200,000 to head a DUI TASK FORCE one week after the death of his wife, let the DUI killer of his wife get off with NO BAIL, NO FINE and A MISDEMEANOR! She is right smack dab on his Facebook. On the chat rooms, his brother came on and said, because I was dredging all this old stuff up...stuff they call painful scabs, his brother said the Mike has been in a foul mood and white faced. Good! When I see the injustice of charging this wonderful woman with a felony while his wife's murder went scott free, I am incensed. I am furious at the hypocracy and corruption in Tennessee.
MIKE CARVER January 30, 2012 at 06:00 AM
What are the laws governing the transportation of dogs? Are there any? What is the usual protocol when a car is cracked up and there was no obstructions nor collusion with another vehicle? Why were no forensics done on the car? Why was the drunk driver released with no bail. Why did she get only one year of a suspended lisense? Why was this considered a misdemeanor? Why was this suppressed by the media? Mike Dunavant was home when the officers came to tell him that his wife had been killed. Why did he not hear them leave in his car, unless it is true that he gave the keys to the driver. What was in the toxicology report? Were drugs involved...Mr. Mike Dunavants family owns a pharmacy. Doesn't any of this raise suspicious to anyone??? Now, he is going after Bonnie and Pam like they are seriel killers. This guy, this Mike Dunavant has blood on his hands...he was involved, it was his sports car. I wonder what his marriage is like because he is now starting a domestic abuse unit. He is also heading a raid on prescription drugs because he has a vested interest since his family sells legal drugs...Oh the web we weave when first we deceive.
MIKE CARVER January 30, 2012 at 06:12 AM
All of this is so stupid. These were dogs being transported in legal carriers, not small children being transported. If the dogs had been transported via air, they would have been in the same carriers, locked in an even more dangerous and stressful condition than a uhaul, I know because my brother is a pilot for a major airlines. The dogs would not have food or water or be walked. If the plane depressurized as happens often, all of the dogs would have died and no big hooplah would have happened like this and the airline would not be accountable on any legal grounds nor would the owners of the animals. Animals, dogs and cats included fly all the time and many die in transport, that is just reality. Many times animals are left on the tarmac, or get out of their carriers in cargo and are killed and this never makes the news.
MIKE CARVER January 30, 2012 at 06:14 AM
What a ridiculous picture, staged by the Humane Society to extract your dollars for their bogus Nazi organization.
julie Sabori April 10, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Just heard the story. I am so sorry, my heart goes out to Bonnie. I adopted my dog "Parker" from Hearts For Hounds almost 4 years ago, he is the love of my life. I know they meant well, they would never mean to hurt any dog ever. I hope everything turns out okay. love Julie and Parker

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