On Saturday, a Lancaster, Ohio, woman was hospitalized due to a medical issue, and local police were told that she had cats in her care.
When they went to investigate, they found that the woman’s two-bedroom apartment was overflowing with cats and called in a local animal rescue organization for help.
Fairfield Area Humane Society Executive Director Corey Schoonover and several other volunteers spent all day Sunday removing 100 cats from the home.
The woman’s family members took seven of the cats, leaving 93 in FAHS’s care. Those cats are in the Fairfield County Dog Shelter garage until Schoonover finds another location.
Fairfield County Commissioner Judy Shupe said the dog shelter is not legally allowed to accept cats; however, in an emergency situation involving health and public safety it has happened elsewhere, she said.
The Humane Society is working with the cats’ owner so she can surrender them. Schoonover said he does not intend to pursue criminal charges against her
“For the most part [the cats] were all healthy,” he said. “She already had them all spayed and neutered.”
He said the woman often took in sick animals to have them treated and had them spayed and neutered because their original owners didn’t do so.
“It leads back to why it’s important to get their animals spayed and neutered,” Schoonover said. “She was basically taking in sick and injured animals because pet owners didn’t want to deal with their animals anymore.
Local law enforcement officials did not describe the woman as a hoarder, and neither did Schoonover. “It’s definitely a tragic thing. It was someone trying to do the right thing. She had a big heart and just got in over her head.”
Schoonover expressed his gratitude to the Fairfield County Dog Shelter for assisting the Humane Society. He said he is looking for another temporary location to keep the animals.
“It’s imperative that we get [the cats] adopted as soon as possible,” Schoonover said. “One, we don’t have the space for that kind of number, and two, the longer we have them the more cost is involved. Being a small nonprofit, we depend on the community to help us in these situations.”
The Fairfield Area Humane Society is a no-kill organization whose funding comes entirely from private donations and animal adoption fees.People who want to help, either through donations or through adopting the cats, can visit FAHS’s website for information on how to contact the organization.
[Source: Lancaster Eagle-Gazette]