Caring for 100 plus animals takes its toll – but Diana Moll keeps the faith at Sanctuary Road shelter

The road leading to Pet Protection Organization's no-kill shelter for abandoned animals is appropriately named "Sanctuary Road."

Almost 100 dogs of every breed, 10 cats, two potbellied pigs and a coyote pup, who stops by for handouts, are lovingly provided for at this unique shelter.

Nine wild horses also are frequent visitors, quenching their thirst at the shelter, located on 5 acres at mile marker 49 on U.S.

Highway 93.

Diana Moll, founder and operator of the Pet Protection Shelter, where no animal is abandoned or put to death, is no stranger to controversy, or hard work.

At 11 a.m.

with her two youngest offspring, 2-year-old twins Trina and Troy, Moll makes the rounds of the dog pens, a project that takes several hours, even with help from her mother, Freda McCoy, and another volunteer.

With rake and shovel in hand and huge bags of dog food nearby, she cleans each cage and pets some of her charges before filling their bowls with food and their buckets with fresh water.

Though many animals are eventually adopted, some dogs in Moll's care have been at the shelter since it first opened nearly three years ago.

Other animals have recently been rescued, literally from death, including a potbellied pig named Tillie, who was found after a dog attacked her and bit off her ears, and a large, friendly German shepherd named "Serge."

"Someone hogtied his legs and threw him in the ravine in front of the shelter," she said.

"He had been there for several hours when I found him."

A week later, the dog looks healthy, happy and ready for adoption, and the pig also appears to be in good health.

"Every day I am discouraged, but when I go out to feed the dogs, and start petting them and look into their eyes, it reminds me of why I do it," Moll said of her need to help the abandoned pets.

However, while she would like to care for every animal that comes her way, there is just so much money to go around.

"I can't accept every animal," Moll said.

"It is getting into cat season.

People want us to take litters of kittens, but there is not enough funding to care for them."

Although the Pet Protection Thrift Store at 324 1/2 Beale St.

raises some money to care for the animals, it is not enough, Moll said.

In addition to upkeep of the shelter headquarters – a mobile home purchased four years ago - it takes about 300 pounds of food a day to feed animals at the shelter.

Moll said she is looking for someone reliable to live on the shelter premises and care for the animals on a full-time basis.

"There's a lot to do.

They would have to have an overwhelming love of animals," she said.

In the meantime, fund raising continues.

"With every passing day, another precious cat or dog comes into our care," said Pet Protection volunteer Caroline Seedorf.

"We strive to find homes for them and make their lives better, but we can only go so far."

Volunteers will gather cash donations at the second annual Dog Walkathon on Saturday, and the group still needs volunteers to walk the four miles.

Dogs are welcome at the walkathon but should be well-behaved, non-aggressive dogs on leashes.

There is no cost to walkers, but donations of cat food, cat litter and dog or cat items such as dog houses will be accepted at Walgreen Drug Store, City Café, State Title Agency or Smith's, according to Pet Protection.

"We are dedicated to taking care of the homeless pets in our community," said Moll, the president of the non-profit organization.

"But we need help.

We also need people to adopt these animals."

Walkers can register from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Saturday at the Walgreen Drug Store parking lot.

The walk will start at Walgreen and proceed south on Stockton Hill Road to City Cafe, where Pet Protection will supply refreshments for the walkers and water for the dogs.

There will be three water stops along the way.

Donations from the event will go to the care and maintenance of the animals at the sanctuary.

At Smith's, the last checkpoint, there will be puppies available for adoption.

For more information about the Pet Protection Dog Walkathon, call 727-7110.