Just this week, the newly-formed humane organization Belmont County Hoof & Paw had some of their members sworn in as humane agents
Already, they’ve executed their first search warrant, and they found a shocking situation.
They say 54 cats were all being kept in one room.
A team of 13 people went in to get them out.
“There was feces, there was urine,” said Julie Larish, founder of Hoof and Paw. “We had to wear masks, protective clothing, gloves. Very sad situation. Very dangerous situation.”They say the cats are in terrible condition. One had to be euthanized. Another was rushed to a veterinarian. The rest face a long recovery.“We have cats without eyes,” said Larish. “We have cats that are near death’s door. They’re all starving. I’m sure they have not been wormed. We have cats with injuries. We have them with mange. It is absolutely heartbreaking.”
She says the Hoof and Paw organization got help from two other organizations—the Belmont County Humane Society and Cat-Stray-Shun. And two vet clinics are helping—Belmont Veterinary and Good Works.
But they still need litter, cages, and money for vet care.
And ultimately they’ll need foster and forever homes.“It’s very sad,” said Kristen Barbour, volunteer. “I’m just hoping we can get them better, and get them in homes where maybe they’ll be in better shape.”
There are no charges yet against the man.
They say he started out with good intentions, rescuing cats that had been abandoned.“He actually saw these cats on Plainfield Road, and he started picking them up and bringing them home,” Larish noted. “And that’s a common problem. You think you’re doing your best. You’ve got two cats, and you turn around and now you’ve got 58 cats. I mean he got overwhelmed.”
They say there are still 20 more running loose outside the man’s house, still to be rescued.
The cats range in age from very young kittens to adults, and there are all colors and breeds, including Siamese. Anyone interested in offering help or fostering a cat can call Hoof and Paw at (610) 314-5203.