An LHS agent was then granted a search warrant by Painesville Municipal Court which was executed on Nov. 28.
According to a news release, the LHS team found over 260 cats living in the repurposed residential home located at 7394 Morley Road in Concord Township.
Over 60 percent of the cats had untreated medical conditions. The majority of the sick cats were not sequestered in quarantine areas, resulting in cats with infectious disease roaming throughout the house and spreading disease to other cats, the release stated.
As of Dec. 5, 157 cats have entered LHS care from the premises in efforts to provide them with medical treatment. The investigation remains ongoing, said Executive Director Lee Nesler, who was present during the inspection.
“Due to their compromised health, these cats are being kept separate from our adoptable pets,” she said. “These additional cats have almost doubled the population of animals in our care.”
“Our greatest need at the shelter is monetary donations for antibiotics and medical supplies to heal or reduce their conditions,” she said. “We can also use donations of canned cat food, bleach, Dawn dish soap and gently used towels. Monetary donations can be made on our website or they can be dropped off at the shelter. Supplies can be purchased using our Amazon wish list and they can be sent directly to our shelter.”
All reports of suspected neglect or cruelty are completely anonymous to protect the complainant, Nesler said.
“We have to respond to allegations of neglect. It was necessary to remove the cats. Had we not received credible information for the inspection, we wouldn’t have knocked on the door.”
“We have 182 animals in our care at the shelter, so the additional protective custody cats nearly doubled our population bringing our total number to 339 pets,” Director of Community Outreach and Development Mandy Osborne stated in an email.
Based on an LHS veterinarian’s assessment, many of the cats require pain medicine, Nesler said.
“Health can often be misconstrued. Cats can look okay but can have issues, and these copious issues are clearly visible. Many had matted fur, mucoid discharge, mouth infections, crusty eyes and upper respiratory infections. We employ a vet as well as humane officers, whereas many rescues don’t have both.
“The cats’ well-being is also important,” she said. “That’s part of our mission, the overall health state of the animal. That’s what we are assessing. This had to stop. We’re now supporting them the best we can.”
JUDIE BROWN SAYS SHE WILL BE VINDICATED
Executive Director/Founder of Caroline’s Kids Judie Brown defended her rescue shelter, describing her staff and volunteers as exceptional.
"The allegations are unfounded. Anyone who knows me and knows the sanctuary knows the allegations are unfounded," Brown said in a released statement.
“No rescue, shelter or sanctuary anywhere is perfect always,” she said. “Every one of them has (cats with) upper respiratory going on, gingivitis, stomatitis and skin issues. These things occur in private homes with only one cat as I have seen many times.
Caroline’s Kids is funded primarily by donations and stray intake and program fees, in addition to fundraisers throughout the year.
Brown noted differences between care facilities, detailing that shelters take in mostly healthy adoptable animals, while sanctuaries give lifetime care in a free-roam “loving homelike environment to those for whom there was no other room in the inns.”
“Caroline’s Kids is not perfect,” she said. “Our cats receive the highest level of care we were able to provide, (including) over the top medical care and visits to specialists. It is too bad the yardstick being used to measure is someone else’s.
“If the cats could talk they would say they have everything they need and have such a better life than where they came from. Love is a huge part of our rehabilitation.”
Read more: Animal Hoarders Fact Sheet
(News Herald - Dec 6, 2016)