Rescue Efforts

 

WYOMING CAT HOARDING SEIZURE

 

Let's begin with a lady we'll call Sally living in Casper, Wyoming, who operated Casper Cat Rescue. Her love for cats and wish to save as many as possible ultimately resulted in a seizure of 204 cats from her on December 14, 2012. Over a period of two years, she had accumulated her cats from a hoarding situation in a trailer park, from feral cat colonies, from strays and from the Casper Metro Animal Control, who turned over to her many cats that would otherwise have been euthanized. Her mission in life was to save as many as she could. Sally had the best of intentions but not the means to be a cat savior: it takes thousands of dollars a month to provide the proper food, vet care, housing and staff to care for so many animals. Sally had only herself. Her request to the Casper Planning and Zoning Commission for shelter status was denied, even though the Commission recognized her good intentions but her facility (her own home) was considered unsuitable and impossible to keep clean. Consequently, sick cats mingled with healthy cats resulting in virtually all her cats becoming ill.

 

After the seizure, 61 of the 204 cats were immediately euthanized because of severe health problems, including bloody diarrhea, ring worm, upper respiratory infections and dehydration. More cats were eventually euthanized because of illness or because they were considered unadoptable. The Casper county facility was subsequently completely overwhelmed itself by the sudden addition of over a hundred cats, all of them in need of various medical attention. Adding to the problem was the then shelter manager, whose job performance had been inadequate before the seizure and whose efforts after the seizure did nothing to help. This is where Kris Field stepped in. Here is the first email Kris received, the one that set in motion her rescue efforts, one of the most difficult in her history:

January 17, 2013, email to Kris Field from Lisa Craft of Paws2Help in Casper: Hi, I got your contact information from Adam at HSUS. He said that you may be able to help us with some of these kitties, or know some rescues that can. Out of the 204 seized there are about 100 left. They euthanized the rest due to their being too ill, mostly

 

with FIP, or feral and, in their minds, unadoptable. All of these cats have been exposed to FIV/FELV/FIP and ring worm. The vet says that 51 of them are definitely redeemable, but will probably need treatment for URI and ring worm. We are working to get them all snap tested. Our shelter is in no way equipped to deal with this many kitties in addition to the ones that they deal with on a regular basis. They are, at least, keeping these guys separate from the intake population. If you know anyone who can help even take a few of these cats we can provide you with snap test results, approximate age, if neutered or spayed if we know, and health needs. They are at our local county animal control shelter. I am a rescuer in Casper, Wyoming, who provides medical care for homeless animals and we were asked to help try to place these guys if possible. Thank you, in advance!

 

Most of the cats, the ones that lived, were suffering horribly from open bloody sores from scratching at the ring worm; eyes that were sealed shut from infection; eyes that were bloody and infected from disease, injury or infection; starvation; bloody diarrhea resulting in ravaged and sore beet-red butts; wheezing; fluid-filled lungs; snot encrusted noses that made breathing difficult at best; and other medical issues too severe and graphic to write about.

And nobody in Wyoming--not the hoarder, not the shelter manager, not the mayor, no one except Lisa Craft--was helping these cats or making any attempt to alleviate their suffering.

 

An excerpt from a subsequent email to Kris Field from Lisa Craft: Our vet has been awesome by donating a lot of his time and medications and tests at cost, but he is also overwhelmed. He has two vets out right now and a large practice to run. Many vets around here won't donate time or medications at all, or even if they were disposed to do so, many don't have good relationships with Metro.

 

Kris spearheaded countless telephone calls and emails among rescue groups among Theresa Geary of Denver Dumb Friends League, Lisa Craft and Denise Wendinger of Paws2Help, Diane Young at Best Friends, Barbara Galaviz-Duarte of Denver Municipal Animal Shelter, Kelly Hopkins of Foothills Animal Shelter and several other rescue organizations. Pam Dickerson and her sister Gay Dickerson personally drove 27 cats from Casper to the Dumb Friends League. Alice Nightingale of DMAS sheltered 20 of the cats and David Thompson drove 13 to the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter. Foothills took 14 healthy kitties from Wyoming to make more room for the hoarder kitties. All these transports took place because Kris made it happen, coordinating everyone's efforts and driving times, taking into account high winds and snow storms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local vet Dr. Sheryl Scolnick of Pets on Broadway gave Kris and Alice excellent advice on preparation and storage of the skin cultures (for ring worm) and procured the cultures for DMAS at an incredible price. And the authorities at the State of Wyoming were easy to work with and did all they could to make the process work smoothly. In all, Barnwater Cats arranged for the transport of at least 62 of the remaining live cats. As you can see by the partial list above of people and organizations, it took many, many people to save these cats. Big thanks to all the people and agencies that participated to make this happen! And Kris was instrumental in having the Casper shelter's manager dismissed and replaced with a more caring, active manager.

 

On January 30, 2013, Kris sent out an email to her network with an update of the situation: Today at approximately 12:20 p.m. Gay Dickerson and her sister Pam arrived at DDFL with 27 cats from the Casper, Wyoming, public shelter. Many of these poor kitties have had no medical treatment and some have ring worm, upper respiratory, severe diarrhea, injured and bloody eyes, severe ear infections and other medical issues. They are however all leukemia/aids negative.

 

There are no words with which we could thank Denver Dumb Friends League for taking this shipment. I stood there talking with Amanda and John, looking at the 27 carriers lined up for transfer into DDFL and thought with great sadness of the ones that were left behind. But with great joy over the ones that will now be safe, cared for and adopted to wonderful homes.

 

I plan to speak with the mayor of Casper in the very near future in order to see what they can do about the remaining kitties that is more humane than the non-care that they are receiving now. If she can get Rick, the shelter ED to REQUEST help, then perhaps we could get sheltering and triage help, from locals or from national organizations. There is no way one shelter tech can medicate, clean and feed all the cats that are there, languishing in cages, sitting there with diarrhea on their already red, sore behinds. The City of Casper needs to step up and get SHELTER help, tech support, vet support and get charges filed against this hoarder who, according to Facebook, is STILL COLLECTING cats and donations!

 

I think the mayor is an animal lover/advocate and genuinely wishes to help with the situation. I am copying her on this email.

 

Thank you to everyone who made this happen and to these transport volunteers: Jean Capellari, Gay Dickerson, Pam Dickerson, Kerry O'Gorman, Alice Nightengale, David Thompson and Lisa Craft of Paws2Help. I have proven that all it takes is a will, a prayer and a zillion awesome volunteers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

So, with the 14 kitties that Foothills took from the Casper general population last week, and the 27 that DDFL took today, Lisa and I have successfully and safely moved out FORTY TWO cats . . . and that seems unbelievable to me. I am grateful beyond words.

 

And they said it couldn't be done...well, these surviving cats still need our help, so Lisa and I will continue our work until we are done. Thanks everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually, all remaining cats were transported: this was a huge amazing story of dedication and volunteerism, and people coming out of the woodwork. It's not enough to say that there were a bunch of cats and Kris got them to shelters--that is doing a disservice to the cats that died in the shelter waiting for the shelter manager to save them. And it does not convey the hours, days, weeks and months it took to get the job done.

 

Sadly, Sally is continuing her mission in Casper and is still fund raising and taking in cats. The need for shelter is ongoing, but Sally is not the solution to the overpopulation. Responsible ownership, spaying and neutering and well-funded animal shelters are the answers--and volunteers like Kris and her rescue network who devote their lives to helping animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hurricane Katrina Ground Zero:  Waveland, Mississippi

 

We are sure you have all heard plenty about the effects of Hurricane Katrina and how Louisiana was hit, but we at Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization were recently made aware of the town of Waveland, Mississippi. We received an email detailing a first hand account of the region.

"First of all, I would like to thank you and your organization from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Waveland, MS animal shelter for your offer of assistance to the shelter's animals, and for all the assistance you have already given to Katrina animals.

 

In case you're wondering who I am, I am actually a resident of Covington, LA, on the northshore of New Orleans, having survived Katrina myself. I work in New Orleans and was relocated to Houston for four months. Now that I'm back, I have been volunteering anywhere and everywhere I can to help the Katrina animals. I heard that the shelter in

 

Waveland, MS was having a really, really rough time of it, and went over there to see for myself and offer what help I could this past weekend. Before it was all said and done, I had written the shelter a personal check for $500 for emergency vet care and the wheels had begun turning in my mind with respect to how I could get them the help they truly need for their animals. That's when I contacted Best Friends, and you know the rest of that story.

 

I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but Waveland, MS was "ground zero" for Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans suffered terribly due to the levee breaches, but Katrina virtually wiped out Waveland and the Gulf Coast. And, to this day, Waveland seems to be the town the world forgot. As you drive through the streets which are the few that are not flooded out, all you see is foundations of homes, steps leading up to homes that are no longer there, and homes that may have survived but are in no way in a condition to be lived in. There are relatively few FEMA trailers and there are actually signs painted on houses that say "FEMA forgot us." Needless to say, the animals at the shelter and animal adoptions have taken a backseat, and, unfortunately, the Waveland Shelter is NOT A NO KILL SHELTER. [The shelter is doing the best that they can, but again, they are in the town the world forgot. They have not received government financial assistance.] That's where the need for assistance comes in. There are many animals there already -- beyond the capacity of the shelter to house -- and more are coming in every day.

 

The problem we're being faced with is the financial issue of getting these animals to the shelters who have offered to take them. I am working on that with Best Friends and will be contacting many more organizations today. Unfortunately, the Waveland shelter barely has the means to feed and house their animals, let alone pay for transportation around the country for them. And, as far as the surrounding areas -- Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, New Orleans, etc. -- they're pretty tapped out and are still reeling from the hurricane themselves. But I'm going to do everything in my power to help. I've never done or taken on anything like this before, so I'm pretty much approaching it blindly, but with a true and full heart. Any advice you can give me would surely be appreciated. I never imagined that I would go across state lines to help a shelter in Mississippi when our animas and our shelters here in Louisiana are still in such dire straights, but, trust me, at this moment, the greater need is Waveland. New Orleans has been so blessed by so many animal rescue groups since the hurricane, that I felt that helping Waveland's shelter in their hour of desperation was the very least I could do.

 

I'll keep you informed of the situation as developments occur. And, thank you again, especially on behalf of the animals."

 

Having received the above email, Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization set out on a mission to help as many of these cats as possible. However, with limited resources and limited funds, we could not possibly take them all, so we took seven in total. If you would like to help aid this rescue effort, please consider DONATING FUNDS.

 

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UPDATE!!! ALL OF THE CATS RESCUED FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA AND FROM WAVELAND, MISSISSIPPI HAVE FOUND NEW HOMES!

 

In December 2005, Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization received six cats from the Gulf Coast region. The photo shows the rescue in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2006, Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization took on the mission of "Operation Angel Flight" in which seven cats were rescued from Waveland, Mississippi.

 

Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization has taken on a THIRD rescue operation.

 

These six cats have been adopted into loving homes. Please help with the cost of these kitties previous medical care. To donate on-line, please click here.

 

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It has been 15 months since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, and still our  work with the abandoned and injured animals goes on.

On December 13th, 2005, Barnwater Cats received 6 cats from Bogalusa,La. through Alley Cat Allies. These kitties came with a multitude of health issues, including Chlamydia, pneumonia, a collapsed lung, Giardia;  and two were positive for heartworm. To date, all have been adopted and are living happily   in their new and forever homes.

 

In March, we were made aware of an animal shelter in Waveland, Mississippi that was in dire need of help.Margery Smith and I responded to Val Spencer's plea by deploying immediately to New Orleans, then driving to Waveland. After spending several days cleaning and feeding the animals and taking some in for vet care, we selected 7 that we were going to take back to Denver. These seven required emergency boarding and medical treatment) for eye infections,severe diarrhea,etc.)  in Louisiana for their own protection and to prevent any further cruelty.Upon our return to Colorado, further medical treatment was required for conditions ranging from a collapsed trachea(we lost Buffy) to follow-up treatment for a cat that had had a nail impaled in her eye from Katrina.This little girl was transferred to Good Samaritan and adopted out to a wonderful family who adore her. Thanks, Beth!

 

Because of these experiences, we are extremely dedicated to continuing our work with these hurricane- impacted animals, both dogs as well as cats. Our hurricane project fulfills the  very critical and specific need of rescuing these homeless and injured animals who, to this day, are still wandering the streets of the Gulf Coast, many sitting on steps leading to homes that no longer exist, waiting for families who will never return.

 

We were especially blessed this year to have financial help from the American Humane Association,the Humane Society of the United States, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, Gary- Williams Oil Co., Animal Assistance Foundation(who made additional emergency funding available to us), and so many of you who gave large personal donations. We thank also, our wonderful shelter vet, Dr. Monica Watterud, who has never wavered in her support and has been through this whole ordeal, standing by our side with patience and kindness.

 

In July, we selected two cats from the Montgomery,Alabama shelter that needed help. Their ACO drove the cats to Birmingham, where they were met by American Airlines flight attendant/angel, Cheryl Gardner. She flew them to Dallas, where they spent the night in her guest room, then she flew them into DIA, at no charge to BCRO!  Teddy and Gracie are beautiful cats and may be seen on our website, www.barnwatercats.org .

 

On the local front, we are working with a wonderful woman who has rescued 2 adults and three kittens from her yard in north Denver. We are helping her with medical costs and will be placing  the cats into a foster home right after Thanksgiving.These cats and kittens will be available for adoption immediately.

 

In closing, I'd like to thank all of our friends and volunteers who have made this such a memorable year. Without your support, there would be no Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization.We have all worked hard and been willing to give when there was nothing left to give. Thank you from me, thank you from all of  the cats who have no voices but still manage to cry in the dark for the homes they have lost or have never had. Only you can make a difference....and, this year, above all others, you have!

 

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On Friday, December 29, 2006, I left Denver in the threat of an impending blizzard, scheduled to hit only hours after my flight took off. This trip had been delayed once already due to the one of the worst blizzards in Colorado's history the week before, but I was not going to let that happen again -- there were freezing kitties in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Waveland, MS who needed help, and I was not about to let them down.

I flew to Houston, TX with three duffle bags of donated towels and blankets in tow. There I hooked up with BCRO volunteer and Katrina survivor, Val Spencer. Val, through a friend, Cathy Deskins who works at the Galloway School in Houston, had collected three giant garbage bags full of towels and blankets from the students at the school. Val and I then set out on our trek to Waveland by car, with Val's car stacked to the brim with towels and blankets for some chilly kitties.

 

Once we arrived in Waveland, Val and I drove through the still-devastated streets and found Susie Pollard's home -- a two-story structure; the bottom floor of which has been given over entirely to her cat shelter. Susie (and her kitties) were absolutely thrilled with the donations and stated that she would be able to help "the entire town's animals" with the towels and blankets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, Susie explained that there were many homes ravaged by the hurricane where the owners had left and abandoned the homes. However, the animals who had been left behind still returned to what was once the front porch of their home, still waiting for their owners to return for them. It is these animals whom Susie plans to help with the extra blankets and towels. She takes time to ensure these loyal animals have fresh food and water.

 

Thanks to all of the wonderful folks who made donations -- both towels, blankets, and money -- for this worthwhile cause, and special thanks to the Galloway School for their incredibly successful, last-minute "towel drive". (A small child came into Cathy's office with one towel and said "Ms. Deskins, this is all I have, but maybe the kitties can share it.")

 

A final thanks to Carolyn Davis, who donated the cherished towel that her beloved cat, Golden Girl, was wrapped in for her final trip to the vet. The towel was donated in her honor.

 

With your help, Barnwater Cats Rescue Organization can continue to help cats around the country in their time of need, however, we need your Donations. Thank you!