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Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 07/21/2010

Oil spill's refugee dogs snapped up in Md.

By Mike McPhate
dog
Bree is 5 months old. (Courtesy of SPCA)

It’s just Bree now.

The female Labrador retriever mix is the last dog standing after 10 dogs abandoned by distressed owners along the Gulf Coast were brought to an Annapolis shelter last month. Local families snapped up eight of the animals. Another is being treated for heartworm.

(Jump down the page to see photos of the adopted dogs).

The Capital of Annapolis had this report:

When oil started seeping into the Louisiana waters weeks after the disastrous explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, things began to go downhill for Shrimp.

Shrimp, no crustacean but a young Labrador retriever, was one of 10 abandoned dogs who wound up at the Anne Arundel County SPCA late last month, an unexpected casualty of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

The dogs came from two shelters in Louisiana. Since the oil spill began, Gulf Coast animal shelters have been filling up with pets, said Sue Beatty, executive director of the Anne Arundel County SPCA. Many pet owners have lost jobs and are unable to continue to care for their dogs.

The Humane Society of the United States arranged for 33 dogs to be sent to Maryland shelters. Robin Small, director of operations at the county SPCA, picked up 10 of them from Gaithersburg, where they arrived by van from Louisiana.

"They had a long ride, so they were very happy to see the ground again," Small said.

Eight of the dogs already have been adopted by local families, and one is currently undergoing treatment for heartworm. While the shelter doesn't advertise to visitors which dogs are from Louisiana, Beatty said the oil spill victims have been adopted faster than usual. "Always, people want to adopt the less fortunate ones," Beatty said. A notice posted on the SPCA's website about the dogs drew many interested families, she added.

Bryan Myers and Meredith Luttrell of Arnold adopted a 7-month-old Labrador retriever mix, whom they've named Cooper. When they first brought him home, they said he seemed sad and shy.

"It definitely took him awhile to warm up," Luttrell said. "You could tell he had been through a lot."

But after a week, they say they've seen a complete turnaround in Cooper.

"He's a very sweet and affectionate dog," Myers said. "I don't think we could have picked a better dog."

On Thursday — the same day BP announced that oil had stopped gushing into gulf waters for the first time since April — Shrimp got some good news. After a home visit, the dog was finally adopted by a local family, more than two weeks after the long trek from Louisiana.

But one other victim of the oil spill, Bree, is still available for adoption. Beatty said she hoped that all of the dogs from Louisiana will find new homes by this week.

Earlier: Shelters filling up as Gulf pet owners struggle

On the Web: SPCA of Anne Arundel County


dogs

Seven of the adopted oil spill dogs. Clockwise from top left: Zelfa, Willie, Shrimp, Justin, Lassie, Barabara and Nitro. (Courtesy of SPCA)

By Mike McPhate  | July 21, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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