Luanne Price agonized for more than a month over the questionable fate of two abandoned, wolf-hybrid dogs she rescued.
Finally, she received the call last week from Oklahoma that she hopes will safeguard the dogs' future.
Perrie Renfro, of Hollister, Okla., has agreed to take in the two dogs - Pawnee, 11, and Kiowa, 10.
A licensed wild animal rehabilitator in a state where wolf-hybrids are not outlawed, Renfro owns about 180 acres of land. She takes in injured animals, heals them and uses a large portion of her property as a reserve to release them back into the wild.
She heard about the dogs' plight through a friend and contacted Price.
"I love all kinds of animals," Renfro said. "I felt real strongly these guys deserved a chance to live, and if there was any way possible that I could do it, then bring them here."
After nursing the starving dogs back to health, Price fought against the state's looming deadline to put the dogs down because the breeds are illegal to have as pets in Georgia.
Price found the dogs abandoned by their owners near her house in Harlem. She called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Believing it was her civic duty to inform the state that she took in the mixed-breed animals, what she found out stunned her.
State law prohibits the ownership of wolf-mix dogs. Because the previous owners had the dogs before the 1994 law was enacted, they were grandfathered in and allowed to keep them. After they were abandoned, according to the law, Pawnee and Kiowa had to either be relocated out-of-state or put to death.
"I couldn't believe it," Price said. "I couldn't understand why these two sweet dogs had to die, just because they had some wolf in them. It wasn't rational."
A longtime animal activist and canine trainer for a local rescue unit, Price immediately set about seeking help in finding new homes for Pawnee and Kiowa before today's deadline set by the state.
After the publication of news reports that appeared in The Columbia County News Times and The Augusta Chronicle, Price said she was inundated with more than 6,500 calls from people wanting to help.
"The phone hasn't stopped ringing," she said. "(My husband, brother and I have) had to sleep in shifts. Eating is out of the question. One of us has to stay in the house all the time."
Price, who held a protest for the legalization of wolf-hybrid ownership outside the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta on Thursday during a visit by Gov. Sonny Perdue, said saying goodbye to Pawnee and Kiowa will be difficult.
"I hate to see them go, and I'm going to miss them terribly," she said, "but this is the better thing for them."
Renfro already has prepared a home for Pawnee and Kiowa on her ranch, where she also owns cattle, pigs and horses.
The wolf-dogs are scheduled to travel more than 1,000 miles to their new home this week.
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