Cats rescued from hoarder en route to adoption | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle Alpena County Animal Control volunteer Dan Sharp holds a cat rescued from a hoarding situation in Alpena Township last month.

ALPENA — All but six of the 46 cats rescued from a hoarding situation in Alpena Township last month have moved into foster homes to recuperate until they are ready for adoption.

An out-of-area organization that specializes in rescuing purebred cats offered to oversee and pay for the medical care and care of the cats, most of whom were the rare brown Havana breed.

Over the past few weeks, representatives from several rescue groups have been recovering cats from their temporary housing in the old Alpena County Jail building on Johnson Street in Alpena.

The cats, currently under medical care in foster homes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, will be available for adoption once they receive a clean bill of health, according to animal control officer Michelle Reid of Alpena County.

Alpena residents will be able to apply to adopt the cats, and Reid will post adoption information as soon as the rescue organization makes it available, she said.

News Photo by Julie Riddle Wednesday in the old Alpena County Jail building, Alpena County Animal Control Officer Michelle Reid checks on a cat rescued from a hoarding situation in the township from Alpena last month.

Police found the cats after their owner, Candice Massey, was killed in a car crash on New Year’s Eve.

Massey was locally known as a breeder of Havana Browns, but police were surprised to find dozens of malnourished cats in her home, where the floors were filled with trash, feces and the remains of dead cats, some of them eaten by other cats. in the House.

Reid and volunteers took the rescued cats to the old prison building, which provided the animals with a room and adequate sanitary conditions while workers began caring for them.

Hearing of the rescue, leaders of the internationally recognized Cat Fanciers’ Association Breeder Assistance Program offered to help.

Although Massey kept a binder full of paperwork registering the cats as purebred, she was known to the Cat Fanciers’ Association for experimenting with crossbreeding to bring back an old variety of the breed, Reid said.

Rescuers will neuter and neuter all of Massey’s cats — including some domestic shorthairs — to prevent unwanted breed changes, she said.

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Representatives of rescue organizations will soon collect the last six cats. All of the rescued cats, including one near death when removed from the home, gained weight and strength after being removed from Massey’s home.

Several dozen cats that Reid believes remained in the house during the rescue, too wild to capture, are presumed dead after live traps and trail cameras in the house showed no sign of them.

Had Massey lived and her animals been discovered, police would have charged her with animal neglect and cruelty, Reid said.

She’s never asked for jail time in a hoarding situation, but pursuing criminal charges can get a hoarder into the justice system so they can get court-ordered mental health treatment they often need. , she said.

The Massey case is not an isolated animal storage incident in northeast Michigan.

Several cats were placed in cages in a separate former jail cell last week, rescued from a situation where 15 or 20 malnourished cats were roaming freely in and out of a Hubbard Lake home.

Reid removed three malnourished dogs and five parrots from the same home in April.

Callers on Tuesday and Wednesday added two more possible hoarding situations to a long list she keeps, Reid said. She is currently working in court to have endangered animals removed from several county hoarders.

With just one animal control officer to handle the 20-odd complaints that come in every day and with limited places to put animals removed from unsafe homes, Reid can’t do much for the county’s animals, he said. she stated.

“I know there are animals that suffer in these hoarding situations that I can’t do anything about,” Reid said. “It keeps me awake at night.”

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

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