Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Purebreds Overshadow Mutts; but the Adoption Lottery in St. Johns County Was Still Considered a Success

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Purebreds Overshadow Mutts; but the Adoption Lottery in St. Johns County Was Still Considered a Success

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT COLEMAN

The light-brown German shepherd mix pawed at the air as people kept walking past his cage.

It looked like he was beckoning each passerby to glance his way. The good-natured 1-year-old is named Buster, and he was taken in May 17 as a stray.

His deep brown eyes looked melancholy as few took the time to get that far.

It was obvious who the star attractions were Saturday at a St. Johns County Pet Center special adoption event.

About 300 people clustered in front of the building and drew random numbers for their chance to take home a purebred dog rescued from a June 25 puppy-mill raid in Tennessee.

The dogs were saved from undersized cages and filthy living conditions and sent to pet adoption centers across the country. St. Johns County received about 30, 10 of which were immediately available.

The puppy-mill survivors included pugs, Boston terriers, a French bulldog and a Pomeranian. They were distributed into the shelter's general population with 40 other mixed-breeds that had been saved from abusive homes or certain death in the wild. These mutts might have spent more time in cages, but they were mostly upstaged by the newcomers.

Department Manager Paul Studivant said he hoped the clamor for the purebred pups would lead to some of the center's other animals finding an owner. He tried to convince one of the pet-lottery winners to take home a solid-looking Labrador mix.

"She's a love monkey," he said. "She'll lick you to death."

But most dog lovers gravitated to the puppy-mill survivors. Christa Tedder drew the eighth ticket and she and her sons Austin, 5, and Garrett, 9, settled on a rotund 4-year-old pug. She said her children had their heart set on getting a pug, and she was looking forward to providing a good home to an abused dog.

"She's just adorable," Tedder said.

Her sons couldn't stop petting the dog.

"We're going to take you home, Buttercup," Garrett said to his new canine friend.

All 10 of the available purebreds, including two pugs that still require surgery, were snatched up by the end of the event. An additional eight dogs and two cats from the center's general population also were adopted. …

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