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LARGE-SCALE RESCUE – 71 Cats Saved From Horror
On Monday, April 20th, 2015 eight staff members from Pasado’s Safe Haven deployed to Electric City, Washington to rescue 71 adult cats and kittens from horrific living conditions and medical neglect.
The scene was heartbreaking. Cats were living in their own feces and urine, surrounded by thick swarms of flies, amid layers of decomposing debris and garbage. The stench from waste and rotting food was overwhelming. Ammonia levels in the house were so high and the conditions so dangerous that the team had to don full hazmat suits and respirators for protection.
Our response team worked as fast as they could for hours in stifling heat to rescue these cats. “The volume of trash and filth in the house really slowed our work ” said Laura Henderson, Pasado’s Safe Haven Executive Director. “We had to work carefully because there were cats and kittens hiding under multiple layers of debris and feces. We wanted to make sure we got them out safely.”
“This is the worst and most disturbing level of filth that I have ever seen animals subjected to” said our Director of Investigations and Rescue Operations. “There was also no ventilation or visible water for these animals” she said.
The cats and kittens were able to finally take their first breaths of fresh air as we transported them from the house to our rescue vehicles. Help didn’t come a moment too soon.
Medical evaluations at our sanctuary are confirming our initial fears that all of the cats have some degree of chronic upper respiratory infection and/or untreated injuries. At least two cats will need to have an eye removed, and possibly a third. Another cat is breathing through holes in his sinuses. Many of the cats have parasites and/or fleas. One mother cat is attempting to care for kittens from multiple litters. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to get these cats well.” said Pasado’s Safe Haven Veterinary Technician Erin Kelly.
Pasado’s Safe Haven scheduled the rescue operation after coordinating with local law enforcement. We understand from the Electric City Chief of Police that formal charges will be forwarded to the Prosecutor. We appreciate that the cats’ owner cooperated with us and accepted assistance, but we are disappointed that she waited so long. Conditions this horrible take months or even years to develop.
“I am so grateful that our supporters make it possible for us to remove these cats from such horrific conditions,” said Henderson. “It’s hard to describe the awful conditions these cats were living in. Seeing them safe and starting the road to recovery at our sanctuary is a true joy”.
Pasado’s Safe Haven is also grateful that other animal welfare organizations are stepping in to help: Okanogan Animal Foster Care, PAWS, Whatcom Humane Society, MEOW, Oregon Humane and the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor are all taking some of the cats.
A rescue and intake of this size requires a significant amount of money and we need your help: many of these cats will need extensive medical care. Please consider making a tax deductible donation today to help support our efforts.