NJ group rescues 1,600-plus dogs from Coastal Empire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

NJ group rescues 1,600-plus dogs from Coastal Empire

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The state that brought you Springsteen and Snooki could bring a few stereotypes to Southern minds. This bucks them.

Each month, more than a dozen volunteers from the Garden State are making a long drive down I-95. They've come to rescue unwanted dogs from in and around Liberty County.

"We moved over 1,000 last year, and probably the first year about 600 because we weren't moving the numbers," said Dante LaSasso, vice president of the New Jersey-based rescue group Animal Aid. "And I would expect this year we'll probably move close to 2,000."

It's making a big difference in how many unwanted pups meet the business end of a syringe. Randy Durrence, director of Liberty County Animal Control, says when he started his job more than a decade ago, Liberty County was euthanizing between 1,200 and 1,500 dogs a year. Now that's down to about 300.

"Since the rescue come in (sic) and started taking the animals, our numbers are way down," Durrence said. "We're working on holding the animals longer so they'll hive time to rescue and come get them so we don't have to euthanize."

Animal Aid was back again Saturday, taking 187 dogs north, where they'll be sent to adoption agencies in Virginia, Connecticut, New York and yes, New Jersey. They've bought a farm in Ludowici to temporarily house the animals.

"We quarantine the dogs here," LaSasso said. "We get them healthy. We get them heartworm treatments, whatever treatments they need to cross state lines."

So maybe these formerly-Southern pooches won't bay with quite the drawl we're used to. But even if their bark gets a teeny bit nasal, they'll still be sounding off for years to come.

Thanks, Jersey.

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