Animal Network to the rescue

July 10, 2000


NEWPORT BEACH -- It was four years ago, when coyotes killed her two

cats, that DiAnna Pfaff-Martin's passion to save other animals began.

She fueled the sadness about her cats' deaths into founding the

Community Animal Network, which finds loving homes for spayed and

neutered animals.

On weekends, the Newport Beach resident stands among cages of kittens


outside Russo's Pets at Fashion Island, hoping to find good homes for

them. About 70 felines and four dogs are waiting in line and sell for

between $75 and $150.

"It's destiny that I'm here," Pfaff-Martin said. "And I'm destined to

succeed with this but need the community's support, too."

She certainly got their attention. Shoppers swarmed around the cages

to take a peek at the sleepy kittens. Some stuck their fingers through

the cages to pet them. Others could not resist and and opened up their

caged doors to cuddle.

Shelly Schwarzenbach of Newport Beach stood with a stroller and her

three children in front of one cage, which held their newly adopted

kitten. They will call him Ollie, in reference to a skateboard maneuver,

a name drummed up by her son Ryan, 8.

Her daughter, 1-year-old Sophia, looked at the kitten and happily

babbled to it. Alexander, 3, clung to his mother's leg and between sobs

tried to talk her into buying more kittens. "No, no," Schwarzenbach said

softly. "We've been talking about this all week."

Alexander wasn't the only one moved by the sight of the kittens. One

serious-faced man stormed past the animals, only to turn right around and

melt when he looked at them.

Although Pfaff-Martin has her hands full when the network finds the

kittens, she also buys high-risk animals from shelters to save them from


She saved Maggie, a 50-pound Rhodesian ridgeback and Labrador mixture

just one hour before she was to be put to sleep. Maggie is aggressive

toward other dogs, which makes her a harder sell, and will be boarded

until adopted.

Pfaff-Martin foots the bill for boarding all the animals. She counts

on contributions to help.

"Rescuing is very costly," Pfaff-Martin admitted, "but it's hard when

you are involved to say no."

For more information, call (949) 759-3646 or visit

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