Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One with the animals

Here's one of my recent stories from The Commercial Dispatch, the daily-except-Saturday newspaper where I'm working in Columbus, Miss. More on that later.

Kelly Tippet photo/Dispatch Staff

COLUMBUS, MISS.—Caring for a family of 300 isn't easy, especially when they act like a bunch of animals. But that's life for Kay McElroy. The 66-year-old is the owner of Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary.

Although Cedarhill was founded in 1990, the story really began a few years earlier. In 1987, McElroy read an advertisement in the newspaper for a six-month-old cougar cub. The seller wanted $1,000. Curious, she went to visit and found a malnourished animal in a small kennel intended for dogs. The man had been feeding the cub canned cat food from the grocery store, and McElroy could see its ribs. It had been passed around from owner to owner, and its paws were infected from someone's attempts to remove its claws. She offered the man a 1947 Farmall D tractor, but he was only interested in money. Two weeks later, however, he showed up at her house with a trailer for the tractor. The cougar was chained in the front seat of his truck.

Read more at The Commercial Dispatch.

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