Former Pet Hoarders Given A Second Chance To Be Responsible Cat Owners

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More than two years ago, they were discovered with 39 pets–mostly cats–living in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

That Bellaire husband and wife entered guilty pleas to 19 counts of animal cruelty, and all their animals were removed from the home.

But now, their two-year probation is over, and they are allowed to own animals again.

After much consideration, Belmont County Animal Shelter officials have allowed Lori Robson to adopt two cats.

They were actually two of her own cats that were seized from the hoarding situation.

And they were unsocialized, with no hope of adoption otherwise.

“They had been here for two years,” noted Angela Hatfield, shelter director. “They had been in with the other cats, but they weren’t loving, they weren’t the type of cat that a person comes in looking for.”

They were spayed and neutered, so they will never have kittens.

The shelter had Lori Robson sign a contract, saying she would own these two pets only–no others.

And they say they’ll make sure she sticks to it.

“The most important thing is that the Belmont County Animal Shelter can go in at any time for an inspection to ensure the safety of these cats,” said Mark Thomas, Belmont County commissioner.

“We had an agreement about impromptu home visits, home checks, and they were fine with that,” said Dog Warden Lisa Williams. “They say they have nothing to hide. They want to do the right thing. And so we thought this would be a great way to go about it.”

Because her two-year court-imposed ban on pet ownership has expired, she could conceivably have begun collecting animals again.

Shelter officials say this will be a controlled situation.

“We can assure ourselves and the community of that,” says Hatfield. “I know it’s a huge burden on a community when there’s an individual who lives in an area who has too many animals. So we want to protect the community as a whole.”

They say with guidelines, a contract and periodic impromptu visits, there is hope.

“Well I think this has the potential of going from a very bad news situation to a very good news situation,” says Commissioner Thomas.

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