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Over 100 dogs in U-Haul prompts review of Long Beach rescuers

January 19, 2012 |  8:35 am

Dogs found in Uhaul trailer
Long Beach animal control officials had received three complaints about a well-known dog boarding facility in the days before the operators were arrested and charged with 128 counts of animal cruelty in Tennessee, officials said.

Bonnie Sheehan, 55, and Pamela A. King-McCracken, 59, were arrested Tuesday after they were stopped by a state trooper in Tennessee, authorities said.

The women were driving a U-Haul truck that was pulling a minivan east of Memphis. Authorities found 21 dogs inside the minivan and at least 107 others were discovered in the back of the U-Haul without any food or water amid unsanitary, dangerous conditions.

Sheehan and King-McCracken, who have operated Hearts for Hounds in Long Beach for years, left the city on Sunday, headed to Virginia for a dog auction.

The animal care office had received three complaints in the days before they left, said John Keisler, acting manager of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

The first one was on Thursday regarding noise and foul odors. Officers inspected the facility and were planning to deliver a notice to comply Tuesday. But on Sunday, the office received an anonymous call about a dead animal thrown in the trash, according to Keisler.

An officer responded but found no dead animal. After the officer left, the office received another call saying that the women were packing animals into a truck.

The same officer responded again, Keisler said, but it's unclear whether she saw dogs being loaded inside the U-Haul. Now, city animal control officials are reviewing their response to the complaints.

"We're taking a look specifically at what she saw when she was there," Keisler told The Times. "There's conflicting reports. We want to get it right."


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Photo: Animal control officers round up dogs that were being transported by two Long Beach women. Credit: Kyle Kurlick / Associated Press