The August 10 murder of John Bullock, a dog kennel owner from southern Mississippi, created well over 100 four-legged orphans, most of whom have made a soft landing at the Humane Society of Broward County. That shelter now has nearly as many miniature pinschers as Cruella de Vil had dalmatians.
The majority of the 118 dogs delivered to the shelter on Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale are miniature pinschers, and a Humane Society official hopes there's a market for them in South Florida.
"We've had lots of people contact us about these dogs," says Carrie Neff, the humane education coordinator. "And we hope that people around here want to help them as much as we did."
Even before the dogs arrived, CBS4 was getting the word out.
Bullock, of Pascagoula, Mississippi, was found dead in his van early on the morning of August 10 after he picked up two transients who were hitchhiking. According to local press accounts, the two men charged with Bullock's murder wanted his prescription drugs. When Bullock refused to hand them over without payment, there was a struggle. A gun went off, killing him.
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Before his death, Bullock was rumored to be running a puppy mill -- and local Humane Society officials have found more grounds for suspicion. "The dogs are in a condition that you would expect of dogs who came from a puppy mill," says Neff. "A lot of them are very fearful. They're not as socialized as dogs who have been kept as pets usually are. They haven't been bathed or groomed regularly."
Still, Neff says that the dogs are not so traumatized that they can't become ideal pets.
The Humane Society of Broward has one of the biggest shelters in Florida, which is why Neff says this was a logical destination for the orphaned pups. "We are very full right now, but as far as I know, we're still accepting dogs in Broward County," says Neff. "We're lucky to have a very large building."
The shelter does euthanize dogs who aren't adopted, but not based on a specific time limit. Here's a map to the Fort Lauderdale shelter.