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Bad reports about a local shelter...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm a volunteer at an excellent animal shelter. We've been getting many visitorswho have been complaining about the conditions of another local "shelter". I haven't had the chance to go first hand, though another volunteer and I have talked about checking it out.

What we've been told is this:

- There are about 100 cats in a large house

- There is only one woman who is taking care of all of the cats and doing the cleaning

- They supposedly have their shots. It is unknown if she's had them neutered or spayed. No one has asked who her vet is. We know she's not using our shelter's program. She hasn't provided anyone looking at her cats with records

- They're divided into rooms, and from what we've been told it's by their color, not sex or temperment. She can supposedly tell 25 black cats apart by just looking at them, and knows all their attitudes

- There are only a few litterboxes in each room, and from what people have said, they're filthy

- The house itself looks condemned from the outside, and it sounds like the inside is about the same

- The woman has told people that she's just attained her 503c.. er.. her federal licence for fundraising. We've also been told she had been turned down three times

- The other volunteer I'm working with on this has said when she drives past the "shelter", there is no sign, and the curtains are torn to shreds, like the house is abandoned.

What I want to know is what we can do to help these cats. I know that our shelter would prefer not to get involved because we're already overcrowded. My friend and I don't want her to loose these cats because they'd be euthanized. But it sounds like she's more of a hoarder than a rescuer. We're hesitant to visit because of our affiliation with another shelter.

What would be the best way into getting her to clean up her act? I know we do need to visit this woman and talk to her, but I'd like to go prepared with ideas.

Also, animal control and the ASPCA have been known to ignore repeated complaints and filings in this area. I've talked with a woman who rescues abused horses. Even after filing reports, sending pictures, and calling them multiple times, it's been over two months and they've never responded. I'm not even sure that if we contacted them they'd do anything about the situation.
post #2 of 6
What I want to know is what we can do to help these cats.

Thanks for being concerned. My advice might be a little pessimistic but also realistic:

Start trying to locate a barn or farm situation to prepare for the eventual rescue. That is really the best use of your time. You might be able to save some cats that are healthy and still have a reasonable temperment. A very high percentage will be too sick or have too many problems, and will immediately need to be humanely put to sleep.

There was a large hoarding rescue of nearly 100 cats in our state. A year afterward there were eleven survivors in foster homes, and ZERO cats from that hoarding rescue were ever permanently adopted...a couple were adopted out but then returned due to problems. People worked on those cats for ~1.5 years and eventually they were placed in a barn situation. Personally I wasn't involved, but I talked to one of the foster parents who had tried to help. It was a very exhausting process that consumed substantial time and/or financial resources for this private rescue group. It might be uncomfortable to make such unilateral decisions, but don't let a single hoarder rescue break apart a group of volunteers and dump so much hopeless work on them. There are so many adoptable cats that just "need a bit more time" to find a permanent home or "a bit of temporary help" to recover from health problems (or a new litter), and that is the point of fostering -- it should not be an extended exercise in futility.
post #3 of 6
Hi, sorry couldn't be of any help, but I wish you Woodesorel the best in this effort! Please let us know of any updates about the lady at the shelter - sounds to me she's more like a hoarder than anything. I hope the kitties are in ok condition so that they won't get euthanized. This is such a sad story!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
From what we've been told, it seems that people just kept dumping cats and kittens on her. She knows how dire things are, and didn't want to see the cats euthanized.

I don't think she would do anything to harm the cats. We've been told that it's very clear she loves them.

I think she's just been completely overwhelmed. We want to find a way to make her realize that she can't be getting any more cats until she manages to find home for the ones that she has now. (And we've been telling people who are asking us how legit she is that if they want a kitten from there, to go with their gut instinct. At least one woman that we know of went back for this kitten that she had fallen in love with.)
post #5 of 6
That's great to hear then. I hope you could be able to help her out (or find volunteers that would be willing to) so the kitties under her care could find new homes.
post #6 of 6
And if you want help on dealing with this from the Animal Control perspective, I can do that. Drop me a note or email and I can walk you through the process. In the meantime, if it is like you describe, you can be sure that animals are suffering and possibly dying while we type.
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