MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WOIO) – Lake Humane Society confirmed 145 cats were seized from a Madison Township animal rescue facility after investigators saw felines emaciated, dehydrated, with untreated skin conditions, flea infestation, conjunctivitis, ear mites, ear infections, and other conditions .
The Lake Humane Society Humane Agent received multiple statements and pictures providing evidence of unsanitary conditions of the animal rescue facility, including allegations of lack of appropriate quarantine and veterinary care, the humane society said.
“It is not unusual for animal rescues to house ill animals while such animals are being rehabilitated, but it is unlawful for those animals to be housed without receiving appropriate care for their medical conditions or in conditions that are not conducive to rehabilitative efforts,” Lake Humane Society stated.
The humane society said people directly affiliated with the animal rescue operation gave credible statements of the conditions, leading to the court granting a search warrant for the Madison Township facility.
The Lake Humane Society Humane Investigations Department executed the search warrant on March 8, said the humane society.
According to Lake Humane Society, most of the facility’s surfaces, including floors, walls, bedding, and toys were covered in nasal discharge and mucus as a result of the multitude of cats suffering from upper respiratory infections, forcing many to breathe through their mouths because their nasal passages were restricted by congestion and discharge.
Lake Humane Society gave the following description of the condition of the cats within the facility:
“In addition, emaciated and dehydrated cats and cats with untreated skin conditions, flea infestation, conjunctivitis, ear mites, ear infections, and other conditions were discovered at the facility. Veterinary records support that the majority of the cats were not under appropriate veterinary care. One cat, Braveheart, had not been seen by a veterinarian since March 2019. While the Humane Agent was executing the warrant, an operator of the facility, apparently recognizing the dire condition of the cat, contacted a veterinarian asking to have the cat euthanized. Braveheart was emaciated, dehydrated, and was suffering from severe upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis, ear mites, hair loss, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Braveheart’s condition was so severe and untreatable that he was euthanized by the Lake Humane Society.
Lack of appropriate veterinary care was the situation many of these cats suffered from, with the majority suffering from contagious illnesses contracted while in the care of the animal rescue. Jazzie, who was in the care of the facility since at least January 2020, had last seen a veterinarian in September 2021, when he suffered from severe upper respiratory infection. Jazzie remained at the facility without appropriate care, suffering from that infection, ear mites, severe dental disease, emaciation, and dehydration. Some cats contracted Feline Leukemia, a contagious and deadly virus, while at the animal rescue. Numerous cats kept in the facility’s general population have tested positive for Feline Leukemia and are suspected positive for Calicivirus, endangering the entire population of cats.”
Due to the “unsatisfactory care and inability to quarantine,” all of the cats were removed from the facility to be housed, medically evaluated, and cared for at Lake Humane Society at the recommendation of a licensed veteran, the humane society said.
“Lake Humane Society values all fellow animal rescue operations and understands that it is all too easy for an animal rescue to become overwhelmed. However, help in these situations can only be provided when that help is welcomed,” the humane society stated.
Lake Humane Society confirmed any claim it plans to euthanize the seized cats is false.
“Animals at Lake Humane Society are not euthanized for space or time and every effort is made to rehabilitate and place these animals into adoptive homes,” lake Humane Society said. “Lake Humane Society prides itself in ensuring that victims of animal neglect and cruelty are given a second chance at life.”
The humane society also stated any claim that the Lake Humane Society pursued this case, or any case, for financial gain is false.
Due to the Lake Humane Society being a 501c3 charitable nonprofit organization, donations and grand provide 100% of its funding.
There is no funding from the Lake County Commissioner’s Office or any Lake County agency, the humane society clarified.
“In addition to being an animal shelter itself, the Lake Humane Society is tasked by law to ensure justice for animals that due to neglect and cruelty through its Humane Investigations Department,” according to the Lake Humane Society. “Lake Humane Society has acted in this capacity since 1937 and has successfully rehabilitated thousands of abused and neglected animals at a cost far greater than is ever received from case-specific donations or reimbursement from criminal offenders.”
Lake Humane Society said it cannot release further details of this active investigation at this time.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled to determine where the cats will be housed as the case progresses through the legal system, according to the humane society.
“Lake Humane Society hopes that a resolution of this case will be achieved in the best interest of the cats, as Lake Humane Society’s goal is always first to prevent animal suffering,” LHS stated.
Lake Humane Society shared these photos of the cats and the conditions of the facility they were seized from:
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS MAY BE CONSIDERED GRAPHIC AND DIFFICULT TO VIEW
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