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May 2014 - Emergency Rescue - 24 Cats Saved

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On Wednesday, May 14, our Emergency Rescue Team was asked by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office to assist in executing a search warrant. The problem was an alleged cat-hoarding situation in a house in Westbury, Long Island.

Working with the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, our rescue unit arrived on the scene not knowing how many animals would be involved. In fact, Jeb Painter, who is the assistant district attorney for Nassau County’s Animal Crimes Unit, said his office had tried to prepare for as many as 500 cats. “You have to prepare for the worst-case scenario,” Painter said. “You have no idea what will be on the other side of the door.”

Wearing masks and protective gear, our rescuers found a classic hoarding situation on the other side: the noxious odor of urine and feces, great mounds of clutter, but, thankfully, only 24 (not 500!) skittish, frightened cats. Thanks to the rescuers’ professionalism and expertise, the cats were trapped, contained, and moved into our mobile clinic for an initial examination.

As with so many hoarding stories, the woman who lived in the house started out with the best of intentions, and then the situation took on a life of its own and she found herself overwhelmed. The cats range in age between young and adult.
 
“Luckily we had the room just now to accept these cats,” said Joanne Yohannan, senior vice president of operations. “We were glad we could help, but we usually don’t have the space, especially at this time of year when we face the onset of kitten season.”

Lindsey Calabrese, communications manager, was on site during the rescue. She said that the cats are now safe at our no-kill campus, undergoing more detailed medical evaluation. In a couple of days, when they have acclimated a bit, they will also receive behavior evaluations.

“We left humane Havahart Traps in the house just in case there are more. The woman wasn’t sure how many cats she had,” Lindsey said “We are working closely with the Nassau County D.A.’s office and when we get word that we can put the cats up for adoption we will do so.”

All the cats will be spayed and neutered, all will receive necessary tests and vaccinations, and we hope by then they’ll be ready and eager to forget their former lives and begin again in loving homes.



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