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Another sad story

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Only 42 cats among 157 deemed adoptable
Most taken from home on south side destroyed
Last Updated: Sept. 26, 2003
Out of 157 cats removed from a south side Milwaukee home, only 42 kittens survive, animal control officials said Friday.

The rest were feral and too old to become socialized and had to be euthanized, they said.

"They would hiss, pull back their ears and crouch down when a human tried to have contact with them," said Len Selkurt, executive director at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. "There was a big chance of someone being bitten."

The house the cats had infested faces a likely date with a bulldozer, unless heirs of its late owner can clear some legal and financial hurdles.

For the past two weeks, animal control had taken the cats from the house, in the 2300 block of W. Barnard Ave., after neighbors complained about a stench coming from the three-bedroom house. When authorities entered the home, they found "unbelievable squalor and filth," said Martin Collins, the head of the city's Department of Neighborhood Services.

An animal control officer had to wear a moon suit, an air filter and duct tape over his shoes because of the smell and the 2 to 3 feet of feces and trash that covered the floor.

The owner of the house, Irene Kustra, died in 1997, Collins said, but her adult son, Marvin Kustra, who lived elsewhere, kept feeding the cats, which eventually took over the building, inhabiting walls and ceilings.

A single dog that was at the house, a beagle, was picked up by Kustra, Collins said. Kustra could not be reached for comment Friday.

The remaining kittens, all about 5 months old, are being socialized at the animal control shelter.

"They just need human contact. . . . Most of them are fairly friendly," Selkurt said. "Our goal is to get them happy, friendly and adapted."

Most of the surviving kittens are healthy, but "a few had tumors and respiratory infections," Selkurt said.

The kittens will not be ready for adoption until mid-October, but many potential takers have already inquired about the animals.

"We've gotten e-mails from veterinarians, people from Montana and Washington, D.C., wanting to know how they can help," Selkurt said.

What the kittens really need, he said, is a foster parent, someone to play with them and give them love.

"Some of our staff members and other volunteers spend a few hours a day cuddling and playing with the kittens, trying to get them ready for adoption," Selkurt said. "But it's just not enough."

So a commercial pet shop, the Petco at 4950 S. 76th St., Greenfield, has stepped in to help.

Petco general manager Jerry Seidl said: "We'll be taking 30 kittens into our store and helping them get adopted. . . . I've already had one customer call and say she was interested."

Collins said two sons are attempting to transfer the title of Irene Kustra's house to their names and possibly will seek a loan to repair the house, which was assessed by the city at about $144,000.

But Collins said houses infested with animals are usually demolished because foul odors are difficult to remove. If the city razes the house, the cost would become a lien on the property, he said.

From the Sept. 27, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
post #2 of 3
that is a very sad story ........
post #3 of 3
That is sad. Poor cats and Kittens.....
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