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Shelter overwhelmed by people wanting suspected puppy mill dogs

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- So many people wanted to adopt dogs taken from a suspected puppy mill in Stokes County on Monday that the Guilford County Fire Marshal had to step in.

Adoptions at the Guilford County Animal Shelter were shut down around 3 p.m. after hundreds of people crowded the shelter lobby and parking lot. A long line of people formed outside the shelter as well.

"Never. I've never seen it this busy and this crowded with this many customers coming in for specific animals," said Marsha Williams, shelter director.

Some were parking on the access road and walking to the shelter. Eventually, the Guilford County Fire Marshal determined there were too many cars blocking the only way in and out of the shelter.

"They had blocked off Wendover Avenue, and they couldn't get down our road. Earlier, people got out of their cars and blocked our gate and wouldn't even let our staff in," Williams said.

The shelter eventually reopened and announced in a tweet around 5:30 p.m. that all the animals had been adopted.

Dan River Bullies, located at 1560 Bob Mabe Road in Danbury, was raided Feb. 7. The Guilford County Animal Shelter took in more than 100 animals, including English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers and Yorkies. The rest of the more than 150 animals went toward Raleigh and Charlotte.

For some of the breeds, getting a pure bred from a breeder can cost up to $2,500. However, the shelter is offering the animals for less than $100.

Frank Rogers of Gibsonville said he waited eight hours to adopt a Boston Terrier.

"I think they're going to name her Bella, and it's a 'Boston Frenchie,' they say. She needs a bath, but she's going to be cool," Rogers said.

Shelter director Marsha Williams said the animals had multiple problems, including eye, skin and teeth infections. Seven veterinarians helped get the animals healthier, and many of the puppies underwent surgery Saturday morning.

Workers and volunteers opened the shelter at 11:45 a.m. Monday, 15 minutes earlier than planned, to try to deal with the crowds.

The owners of Dan River Bullies, Lucille and Willis Mabe, were charged with 27 counts each of misdemeanor animal cruelty last Thursday. They are expected to be served on the charges this Thursday.