Cat Depot of Sarasota sends word that they are the recipients of a dozen darling adoptable cats that were among the 700+ that were rescued in one of Florida’s largest ever hoarding cases.
You may recall that back in early June of this year approximately 700 cats were seized from Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in Alachua County. Of those, 50 were immediately euthanized. That still left a LOT of cats to rehome; the initial report from the Gainesville Sun online quoted Alachua County Animal Services Director David Flagler as saying that “The national agencies will help find homes for the cats in other areas because the number would overwhelm the ability of local groups to find homes here.”
And the agencies did just that.
According to Cat Depot’s September 01, 2011 press release, “The Humane Society of the United States, working with Alachua County Animal Services, PetSmart Charities©, the Alachua Humane Society and The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, are seeking help with approximately 550 cats remaining.”
The Cat Depot Dozen were accepted, Depot director Shelley Thayer explains, “… from Helping Hands Rescue by way of Operation Catnip, freeing up Helping Hands to take a dozen cats from Haven Acres.” She further notes that “This is a team effort. No one organization can handle 550 cats. This is a great example of how organizations in the state of Florida can work together for the benefit of the animals.”
The early-summer scene at the Gainesville area “sanctuary” was clearly a situation well out of hand, as reported in WJCB TV 20 abc station video and text reports and more in-depth in the two-minute, on-site video shot by rescue groups and posted on YouTube (WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES MAY BOTHER SOME VIEWERS)
Subsequently, the North Florida Herald online reported on July 14, 2011 that “The special permit for Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary was revoked for non-compliance at the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 12.”
That original permit had set the number of cats allowed at the sanctuary at 200, and had been granted over the objections of neighbors.
Interestigly, this is a situation not unfamiliar to Cat Depot veterans; the Depot was put together literally overnight in September 2003 in response to the forced emergency closing of a Sarasota facility known as The Cat Woman’s Shelter; approximately 300 cats were taken out of similar circumstances and held as evidence for many months in that case. The situation was so volatile that, in the early stages of this long, drawn-out case, Cat Depot’s exact location was a closely guarded secret known only to truisted volunteer caretakers who were sworn to secrecy and who used a special locked and guarded entrance when they arrived to clean litter boxes and help with socialization of the cats every day for many, many months.
Anyone interested in one of the Cat Depot Dozen can check with adoption counselors via phone re: availabilty (941) 366-2404 or email [email protected], or go to the shelter located at 2542 – 17thStreet, Sarasota, FL 34234. Shelter hours are 7 days a week: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7.p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5.p.m.