For animal lovers, the road leads back to Georgia



Photo by Dave Griffin

animallovers-web1People who have adopted pets through “Paws for a Cause” gather on the steps of Hammonton City Hall Aug. 5 for the presentation of a proclamation declaring Aug. 21 — when a trip to Georgia to pick up abandoned animals was scheduled — as “Empty Out a Ga. Shelter Day.” Paws for a Cause and a related animal rescue effort, MOMS (Making Of Miracle Stories), have thrived largely on the efforts of families associated with St. Joseph School, Hammonton.


animallovers-web2At left, Nacho made the trip from Georgia to Lindenwold, looking for a home.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff/More photos


Local animal lovers — man, woman and child —took to the road last week to pick up animals from a shelter in Georgia and bring them up to New Jersey to find a loving home.

MOMS (Making Of Miracle Stories) Rescues organized a Georgia Puppy Caravan, with people riding in RVs, cars, trucks, and planes, leaving Lindenwold on Wednesday, Aug. 19, to make the trek to Georgia.


Arriving in Summerville, Ga., 900 miles later, the caravan made their way to an animal shelter there and took every animal the shelter had.

“Seeing a kitten (being carried out a shelter) in a child’s arms, and seeing the empty shelter, it was overwhelming,” noted Karen LaSasso, co-founder of Moms Rescue.  She called the emptying of the shelter “symbolic” of the organization’s mission, to provide a loving, warm home for every animal.

As well, food donations, and other supplies were sent to Georgia, to help needy animals. A gala event was also planned, to watch the new National Geographic channel reality series on Rescue Ink, a tattooed, biker gang dedicated to ending the abuse and neglect of animals.  Both National Geographic and Rescue Ink were in attendance.

Arriving back in Lindenwold on Sunday, Aug. 23, the animals were placed in various rescue homes, with the hope of eventually finding permanent residency somewhere.

The rescue effort made “a significant difference in the lives of these animals,” LaSasso noted, adding that more trips to Georgia shelters are planned.

A documentary film crew also came along the Georgia Puppy Caravan to record footage of the rescue. The trip and upcoming film, it is hoped, will raise awareness on the treatment of animals, education to communities in Georgia about the need for spaying and neutering, and responsibilities of the government to assure that shelters such as the one in Summerville, receive the proper funds to provide adequate food, medical, and other supplies to animals. Last year in Georgia, more than one million dogs were euthanized, due to the overpopulation of unwanted pets.

To kick off the Georgia Puppy Caravan, on Aug. 5, two Atlanta representatives hand-delivered a proclamation to MOMS Rescue in Hammonton, declaring Aug. 21, 2009 a “Empty Out A Ga. Shelter Day.”

MOMs grew out of a community outreach program at St. Joseph Elementary School in Hammonton, “Paws for a Cause,” a rescue operation and awareness program started by Karen LaSasso, Lisa Adinolfi and Rene Scocca, and their children, all St. Joseph’s students.

Last January, during Catholic Schools Week, St. Joseph’s held a “Paws for a Cause” awareness program, where a slideshow presentation detailed the organization’s desire to find comfortable homes for animals in overpopulated shelters.

With students and adults both wanting to continue the cause, MOMS was created. Six St. Joseph students, were also part of the caravan to Georgia.

For more information on adopting an animal, contact the Animal Adoption Center, Lindenwold, at 856-435-9116.