MINNEAPOLIS - A woman in North Minneapolis has a heart for hens and a soft spot for roosters.

"They are like dogs with feathers," said Mary Britton Clouse. "They are wonderful pets."

In her home, she houses 21 chickens. But for this animal lover, this is more than a hobby, it's a rescue mission.

"This one was left abandoned in a backyard," says Mary while holding up a rooster in her home.

In 2001, Mary started the Chicken Run Rescue, one of the first urban chicken rescue organizations in the country. But never before has she seen the need this great.

"People take them as pets for egg-laying or for fun," she says. "But many become strays or are left abandoned."

Often times, the work becomes too much for owners or hens develop reproductive problems after being forced to lay too many eggs.

Mary says she was asked to take in 500 chickens last year alone.

"We think urban gardens are a wonderful thing, but the mistake is thinking that farm animals are a part of that."

She has transformed her backyard into a sanctuary and her basement into a cool place to roam on hot, summer days.

"I'm passionate about this," she says. "I'm doing something that's making a difference."

Find more information about the Chicken Run Rescue ontheirfacebook page.

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