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Cat Lovers Save 400 Cats But May Face Charges
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More than 400 caged cats that were to be sold in south China for their fur and meat were rescued by a group of pet lovers who broke into a Tianjin store on Sunday.

About 30 members of the Tianjin-based group that goes by the English name "I Cat Home" broke into a shop in the Minquanmen pet market in Tianjin.

"We knew in January that the store owner has bought a lot of cats for 15 yuan (about US$2) each. The cats were packed into the small shop and were to be sold in Guangzhou for fur and meat," said 23-year-old Wang Yue, founder of "I Cat Home", who accused the shop owner of cruelty.

The group, which included people who'd recently lost their cats, saved 415 cats that were crammed into small cages, reported Monday's Beijing News. The shop owner wasn't present during the raid and couldn't be reached for comment.

The newspaper said the owner had agreed to hand over the cats to the pet lovers on Saturday night.

After their rescue the cats were taken to the headquarters of the Beijing-based China Small Animal Protection Association where they were fed and vaccinated, a volunteer at the association named Zhao Lei told Xinhua. "We're already advertising for kind-hearted people to adopt a cat," he said.

Wang Yue and her friends may face trouble of their own from local police as they pulled down the store's two-meter-high gate and had "physical conflicts" with police who were called by nearby shop owners, reported the Beijing News quoting market security guards.

"These young people were just too hotheaded," said a vender in the market. "Helping animals by causing violence against people seems inappropriate to me."

(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2007)

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