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Labs Rescued from Imminent Death

Thanks to some dedicated rescuers and Animal League America’s Humane Relocation Program, two sweet-as-can-be Mutt-i-grees® are saved just hours before their scheduled euthanasia at a Southern municipal shelter

The two Labrador mixes pictured here are among the friendliest, happiest dogs you could ever meet. Named Johnny and Carson, these young adult canines are super intelligent, affectionate and eager to please. They love everyone they meet, and they treat each new person as their best friend.

They also came within just three hours of being destroyed.

The story begins in early August 2013, when Joanne Yohannan, North Shore Animal League America’s Senior VP of Operations, saw an urgent rescue appeal pop up in her email. The message, sent by Peggy Breedan, shared photos of the two beautiful dogs and information on what was known of their story. Apparently, Johnny and Carson, whom we believe to be brothers, were relinquished to a municipal shelter in Tennessee because their owner was upset that the dogs chased his livestock.

Enter heroic animal lover Tammy Woods, who has fostered and helped find homes for hundreds of homeless shelter animals, also known as Mutt-i-grees®, for over 10 years. After many years of making connections in the rescue community, she is now the unofficial volunteer rescue coordinator for her local municipal shelter, where Johnny and Carson were housed.

Woods works with the shelter personnel to save as many dogs as possible from being destroyed by utilizing her network of volunteers, foster parents and other rescue organizations. But sadly, with the number of relinquished and stray animals so high and space in the shelter so limited, animals like Johnny and Carson are put down every day.


“Our entire area has a very high euthanasia rate,” says Woods. “There are few if any no-kill options in Tennessee, and the overpopulation problem is huge.”

In a scenario that has played out hundreds upon hundreds of times over the last decade, Woods went to the shelter, met the two dogs and took their photos. She then contacted her friend Breedan, whom she calls her “angel.” Breedan used her large email network and sent a rescue appeal for someone to adopt the dogs or find them a temporary foster placement.

As soon as she saw the urgent email request, Yohannan asked Mike Malloy, Animal League America’s Manager of Pet Behavior and Rescue, to contact the shelter and tell them we would rescue the dogs. Malloy called the shelter’s phone number and left a message saying that Animal League America would take the dogs to the safety of our no-kill shelter and find them homes.

But the shelter, overwhelmed with too little staff and an ever-growing influx of animals, never returned our phone call. And two days later, Yohannan and Malloy saw another email from Breedan with these dire words: “These nice yellow lab mixes are going down today. Nobody has stepped up for them yet. Tammy Woods says she will work as a shelter liaison for you if you can take them into your rescue. She will help pull them for you and help transport locally. There isn’t much time: They are supposed to be euthanized three hours from now.”


Malloy immediately called Woods to tell her we’d find a way to get these dogs to New York, and she went to the shelter and picked up the dogs.

“As part of our Humane Relocation Program, we work closely with a group in Clarksville, TN called Precious Friends,” says Malloy. “Through that program, we take puppies, dogs and some felines at risk of euthanasia from overcrowded shelters, puppy mills and other dire circumstances and bring them to our headquarters in New York,” says Malloy.

Yohannan explains why the overpopulation problem is so much worse in the southern rural regions. “Spay and neuter programs are more widely accepted in other parts of the country than in parts of the South, where many animals are permitted to roam free,” says Yohannan. “While we rescue from across the country and even internationally, many of our humane transports originate in places like Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina, where we partner with others who are also dedicated to saving these innocent animals.”

Because of the devotion of Tammy Woods and the dedicated rescuers at Precious Friends, Animal League America was able to save Johnny and Carson. And both dogs were adopted within days of their arrival at our no-kill headquarters.

This happy ending is something Animal League America is proud to be part of every day of the year. But we couldn’t do our work alone. We’re grateful to all the dedicated animal rescuers, like Tammy Woods and Peggy Breedan, who join with us in our mission to rescue, nurture and adopt innocent animals.

“When I get overwhelmed I just pray for someone to come to the rescue,” says Woods, “and I’m so grateful for the help and support of North Shore Animal League America.”

We count on your support to be able to continue our work to rescue, nurture and adopt nearly 20,000 innocent animals like Johnny and Carson each year. Please donate today!