Originally created 09/30/05

Group helps storm's animal victims



KINGSLAND, Ga. - To some, they are the forgotten victims of Hurricane Katrina: Stray pets wandering the streets in towns in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi devastated by the storm, animals brought to shelters by their owners whose homes were destroyed, hoping their pets are adopted before they are euthanized.

"They're voiceless, and they're last on the list," said Stacie Kerschner, who recently returned from Jackson, Miss., with 47 dogs that are up for adoption in animal shelters in Camden, Glynn and McIntosh counties.

Ms. Kerschner is founder of Wings of Grace, an organization based on St. Simons Island that finds homes for pets housed in animal shelters. She plans to return to the Gulf Coast during the next three months to bring more homeless pets to the region for adoption.

Charlotte Bartzack, the president of the Humane Society of Camden County, said her shelter has accepted 11 of the dogs from Mississippi and still has 10 of the animals waiting for adoption. She felt bad for people who had to make the tough choice to bring their pets to shelters.

"This was a painful decision for some of the owners," Ms. Bartzack said. "The owners gave up their pets because they had no place to live. At least they didn't abandon them someplace."

Reach Gordon Jackson at (912) 729-3672 or gordon.jackson@morris.com.