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      Animal shelters celebrate adoption website's 15th anniversary

      One of the dogs up for adoption Saturday. / Lindsey Theis

      Eight area shelters and rescues filled part of the Carolina Forest Wal-Mart parking lot Saturday. The groups say their goal was two fold. First, adopt out 100 dogs and cats. Many local groups at the event also said they hoped people would focus on a more serious issue than the cute animals up for adoption, animal cruelty.

      "It seems like it goes in waves, but we've had a lot of success stories lately," Operations Manager for Horry County Animal Care, Kelly Bonome said.

      One of those successes are two dogs, Sasha and Butch. In February, police charged 55-year-old Cleveland Fladger Jr. of Conway with animal cruelty after two of his dogs were found severely malnourished. Five months later, there's a happy ending.

      "We had them treated for heartworms we had them go through the whole nine yards they are happy, they are healthy, they are ready to go to a good, loving home," Bonome said.

      Another is a 14-week-old pit-bull puppy named Gypsy. A Loris dog rescue has been treating her for a month now for malnourishment and badly cut ears.

      "She had her ears cropped or cut off. it looks like they basically did it with scissors," Elaine Tirmenstein with Angel Dog Acres said. "Sometimes it's overwhelming. You cannot believe how cruel humans can be."

      Pitbull cases seem to be the biggest problem local shelters say they have seen this summer. Allison Gillespie with St. Francis Animal Center in Georgetown says they have gotten a lot of pitbull cases recently.

      "We had three that came in this week, one was so badly scarred up he was obviously used for bait," she said.

      More than 13,000 pet shelters across South Carolina use the Petfinder website. The shelter workers at the event all had one common message. Get the pets out of the cages and into homes.

      "I would love to work myself out of a job," Gillespie said.