TUPELO – Sixteen homeless canine actors melted the heart of an America’s Most Wanted TV show producer last month.
Now, thanks to her, they’re going home.
Cindy Miller, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance producer, filmed an episode of AMW in Northeast Mississippi last month when she met the dogs. They were loaned by the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society to help re-enact the story of Janet and Ramon Barreto. It will air Dec. 5 on Fox.
The Barretos were charged in connection with the 2008 beating death of their adopted 2-year-old daughter and skipped town on a combined $900,000 bond. The New Albany couple also ran a large-scale puppy breeding operation in their backyard; thus the dogs.
“I’m a real animal person, so I spent every moment I could with the dogs,” Miller said. “Their little eyes, I found myself making promises that I was going to find them homes. When they left to go back to the shelter, I was a mess.”
Miller returned home and immediately e-mailed friends, family and neighbors seeking the dogs permanent homes. Response quickly followed.
“My husband would come home, and I would be in front of the computer weeping, just overwhelmed with the response,” Miller said. “Everybody got a home. I’m still blown away by it.”
Most of the pups left the shelter in a special vehicle Thursday for Washington, D.C. They’ll arrive Saturday at Miller’s house, where she plans a cocktail party for those picking up new pets.
Several dogs will stay in the D.C. area, others will go to Maine and Massachusetts and South Carolina. Five others who worked the show got adopted in Mississippi.
And one dog, a border collie not involved with AMW, also got adopted by one of Miller’s neighbors: “They wanted a larger dog so they went online to the shelter’s Web site and found Bobby and wanted her added to the transport.”
Shelter Director Debbie Hood said she’s amazed by the situation.
“It just makes me feel real good to know that there’s someone out there who is so committed to animals and has done all of this for them – and from so far away,” Hood said. “We appreciate so much what she has done to find them all homes.”
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal