Mary Lynn Pretl Dougherty, an animal lover who owned Kildee Kennels on the Eastern Shore, died of lung and pancreatic cancer Aug. 23 at her home near Centreville. She was 55.
Born Mary Lynn Pretl in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton, she attended St. Dominic parochial school and the Institute of Notre Dame, where she was a 1970 graduate. Family members said her free spirit often clashed with the school's rules and regulations.
They also said that her devotion to needy animals became apparent at an early age. She sheltered stray kittens and injured birds. She also raised a baby alligator in the family's bathtub after a neighbor sent her the animal from Cuba.
As a young woman, she worked in construction and helped build Sea Colony at Bethany Beach, Del.
About 25 years ago, Ms. Dougherty purchased a house on 5 acres near Centreville and established Kildee Kennels. She provided pet boarding, grooming and training. She also bred and raised Australian shepherd dogs.
"There were at least two or three dogs following her devotedly," said her brother, Richard Pretl of Baltimore. "She had such an amazing rapport with every animal she came into contact with."
Services are private.
In addition to her brother, survivors include her mother, Mildred Pretl of Glen Arm; two other brothers, Stephen Pretl of Washington and Michael Pretl of Salisbury; two sisters, Joan Bonomo and Patricia Pretl, both of Baltimore; and nieces and nephews. Ms. Dougherty's marriages to Karl Kibler and Michael Dougherty ended in divorce.