SPCA to charge owner of Frankford cat rescue

Watch report from Action News
March 27, 2014 8:38:55 PM PDT
The Pennsylvania SPCA plans to charge the owner of the cat rescue in the city's Frankford section with violations of the cruelty code following the seizure of 239 cats on Wednesday.

The specific charges are still to be determined as the PSPCA continues its investigation.

The cats were removed early Wednesday morning when officers executed a warrant at the property located at the 1600 block of Filmore Street.

The woman who lives there has a license to run an animal emergency shelter called 'Animals in Crisis.' She first came to the attention of the Pennsylvania SPCA a few weeks ago.

Officials say she cooperated with them as 40 cats were removed.

"We were visiting her one more time and found out that the conditions got worse inside the house and she would no longer cooperate with us so we needed to come here and remove the rest," said Sarah Eremus, PSPCA.

The deteriorating and unsanitary living conditions have made it necessary to remove all of the animals.

"As you can see some of our officers are wearing respirators. The ammonia levels are very high and that's not good for the cats so we wanted to get them out as soon as possible," said Eremus.

Neighbors say the woman who lives in the home, billed herself as 'the crazy cat lady' and has made life miserable in this neighborhood.

"We called her the 'Crazy Cat Lady' of the block. That's what we called her - that was her name. When we first moved here, the block captain said 'Beware the crazy cat lady!' said Faith Perez.

"If we're just standing in front of her house, she would come out and scream at us. Sometimes we would just be standing out here and she would be looking at us out the window with a nasty like face," said Isabella Colon.

At the PSPCA headquarters on Erie Avenue, a team of doctors, technicians, and volunteers examined the cats in an assembly line fashion. The animals received medical and other treatments.

"Give them vaccines, give them flea and tick treatment ? the whole works. If they need any kind of treatment for illnesses then we can go ahead and start on that," said Eremus.

"We've been planning this. We have a great team. There's been a lot of coordination. We've been helped by other agencies that have helped us with donations. It's been a great effort and we're very proud of it," said Jerry Buckley, PSPCA

Of the 40 cats the homeowner voluntarily gave up, two of them have already been adopted. The PSPCA is hoping that others will be adopted as well.

On Thursday, PSPCA veterinarians and forensic technicians continued to evaluate each of the cats that had been brought in on Wednesday.

Although the owner has now surrendered many of them, she declines to sign over the rest.

Surrendered cats will be made available for adoption in the near future, but PSPCA anticipates many of the animals will remain in its care for at least ninety days, pending court proceedings.

PSPCA's hopes to find good homes for the cats once it obtains legal custody of them.

For more information contact the PSPCA at 215-426-6300.


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