|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 07 April 2011 00:00|
Volunteers and staff from an animal shelter in Prescott are now caring for nearly 100 cats hoarded by an infirm elderly woman at her home in Cottonwood, Yavapai Humane Society spokeswoman Missy Paschke-Wood said.
The cats are currently receiving needed medical treatment. Most will be spayed and neutered in preparation for adoption, Paschke-Wood said.
“These animals are very traumatized,” she said.
In cooperation with Purebred Cat Breed Rescue, the society conducted a rescue operation in Cottonwood and discovered 96 cats penned in large cages. Law enforcement was not involved. Relatives of the woman suspected of hoarding cats said she would be embarrassed by the situation and did not want to be identified in public records, Paschke-Wood said.
Fifteen of the cats have already been neutered and medically cleared for adoption. They were transported from Cottonwood to Prescott for adoption Tuesday, March 29, Paschke-Wood said.
Eighty-one cats remain at the unidentified woman’s Cottonwood home for lack of accommodations elsewhere, she said.
Although the cats remain in the same location, living conditions are much improved. The animals now receive regular food, medical care and human contact, Paschke-Wood said.
At one time, the elderly woman, who was in critical condition at a local hospital Friday, April 1, operated a reputable breeding business in her home, according to Dr. Linda Pollack Mercer, president of Purebred Cat Breed Rescue.
The woman was breeding Siamese, Scottish Folds, Pixie Bobs, Manx and Bengal cats for profit. She transferred all of her rights in the breeding business, including the cats, to Purebred Cat Breed rescue before being transported to the hospital, the press release stated.
Family said they were unaware the woman’s health had deteriorated so much that animals were at risk. They contacted Purebred for help as soon as they became aware, Paschke-Wood said.
The society called animal hoarding a “tragedy” in a press release.
“Animal hoarding is not about animal sheltering, rescue, or sanctuary, and should not be confused with these legitimate efforts to help animals,” the society stated, citing scientific authority.
“It is about satisfying a human need to accumulate animals and control them, and this need supersedes the needs of the animals involved.”
By definition, hoarding is the excessive collection and retention of things or animals until they interfere with day-to-day functions such as home, health, family, work and social life, according to the society.