The Chautauqua County Humane Society (CCHS) is wrapping up an effort that began two weeks ago and involves the removal of over 75 cats from a north county location.
On the morning of Wednesday, July 8th, CCHS Veterinary Technician Molly Loomis and Executive Director Kellie Roberts went to the condemned apartment in the City of Dunkirk to retrieve cats who were left behind when their owner was hospitalized. A plea for help from City of Dunkirk Dog Control Officer, Denise Zentz, had reached CCHS the day before. Denise had been frantically trying to locate a humane organization that would step in and save 50 or more cats living in poor conditions inside an upstairs apartment.
Upon arrival, Roberts and Loomis found dozens of cats living in conditions that Roberts described as, “not the worst I’ve ever seen but definitely awful. The high temperatures compounded the situation. Thankfully there is a downstairs neighbor at the house who has willingly cared for the cats on-site from the beginning.”
After two hours, and with a hand from DCO Zentz and her husband, Steve, 53 cats were captured that day and brought back to the CCHS Adoption Center for processing. Since that time, CCHS has received assistance retrieving cats at the location from Lakeshore Humane Society in Dunkirk and the SPCA Serving Erie County. “There is not much room to operate in the apartment and the cats have limitless places to hide, making it very difficult to get a hold on them,” Roberts said. All of the cats have been taken to CCHS for the care they need to ready them for adoption. Roberts says with this many cats, “the additional labor and medical costs add up in a hurry. Unfortunately, it takes almost two weeks of nursing and medical care to get many of these cats well on their way to becoming healthy. Some of the cats are now available for adoption but others need further time and care. In addition to the routine spay or neuter surgeries, several of these cats will require eye surgeries. One orange guy may be blind but we hope to be able to save at least partial sight for the others who are suffering with ulcerated corneas and the like. The cats range from litters of very young kitties to adults. We are not certain at this time exactly what further medical conditions we might be looking at since all of the cats have not been fully vetted yet. What we do know is that they are going to be wonderful companions in their new homes.”
Taking on this many cats at once is a significant financial commitment. Roberts says this has an especially large impact as shelter income has been affected by the coronavirus shutdown. “Our donors have been wonderful to us throughout the pandemic, and for that we are so thankful. Surprises like this hoarding situation are very difficult even in the best of times and the struggles we have faced since March, combined with the number of unhealthy cats in this case, compound the stress on the people and the finances of the organization. To make a financial contribution, checks can be mailed to 2825 Strunk Road, Jamestown, NY 14701 or a gift by phone can be made by credit card at 716-665-2209, extension 203. Online donations can be made at Chqhumane.org.
Chautauqua County Humane Society is a private 501 (c) (3) organization which receives no state or county funding. CCHS’ mission is “to improve and save lives through compassionate care, advocacy for animals, and commitment to the community.”