Friday, May 7, 2010

A better future for dozens of cats

Submitted by Alexis Raymond, UAN communications director

Yesterday was a busy day in Lebec and Lancaster, California, and all along the road in between. At 7:30 a.m., teams from United Animal Nations and The Humane Society of the United States departed from Lancaster to rendezvous with Kern County Animal Control and the spcaLA for a compassionate rescue mission. We were removing dozens of cats from a house belonging to Cause 4 Cats, an organization operating as a cat sanctuary. The operator of Cause 4 Cats sought to provide refuge for unwanted cats, but eventually became overwhelmed with more than she could care for property.

The cats were living in a variety of indoor and outdoor areas, and many had treatable respiratory and skin conditions. Most of the animals were spayed and neutered or separated by gender if they were not.

After arriving on the scene, UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers began to assemble dozens of plastic crates – provided by the PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief Waggin’ – to transport the cats from the house to the temporary shelter another team of EARS volunteers was setting up in Lancaster.

I was part of the team that went to remove the cats, and I was awed and impressed by the amazing teamwork among all of the agencies involved. (And equally amazed by how tiring assembling plastic crates can be!)

Four EARS volunteers helped process the animals coming out of the house – more than 120 of them. They noted their physical characteristics, took identification photos, affixed paperwork to their kennels and loaded them onto the transport vehicle.

Meanwhile, the EARS volunteers back at the temporary shelter assembled dozens of large wire kennels into which the smaller plastic carriers could be placed. They unwrapped shiny new bowls and prepped food and water. They waited in eager anticipation of their new charges. During a day that lacked interaction with hardly any animals, the EARS volunteer “shelter team” still worked their tails off.

UAN’s Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies has a theory that at every emergency response we go to, we encounter a few random species of animals (such as two cats during a puppy mill seizure or a couple of swans during a hurricane response). Well, this deployment proved Janell’s theory right again. When EARS volunteer Sheryl Green was driving to the shelter, she found two loose dogs running along the highway and coaxed them into her vehicle. I don’t think these two dogs could have wandered into a better situation! Luckily they were wearing tags and Sheryl was able to contact their owners. So Abby and Sam spent most of the day hanging out in one of the pens, waiting for their family to arrive and going for an occasional walk with the EARS volunteers.

Around 4 p.m., the first load of cats arrived at the shelter and were introduced to their new digs – clean cages complete with a fresh litter pan, water and food. The UAN and HSUS teams were at the shelter until 10 p.m. getting the cats settled into their new spaces. It was a long day but a rewarding one: we were there when the animals and overwhelmed rescuer needed us, and the future would surely be better for all of them.

Photos (top to bottom): UAN and HSUS personnel assemble crates. EARS volunteer Valerie Clark of Sacramento, California gets ready to load a cat onto the transport vehicle. Abby, one of the lost dogs who was lucky enough to encounter an EARS volunteer. EARS volunteer Linda Sherman of Modesto, California unloads a cat from the transport vehicle.

1 comment:

  1. Linda sherman is a blessing I was going to have to get rid of my cat mz berry because she got pregnant and I couldn't afford to get her spayed so we had to keep her in the house and the time for fear of her getting pregnant again and poor mz berry was going crazy being in the house all the time. She seen my ad on craislist and has offered to pay to get her spayed. A complete stranger going out of her way to help us in our situation. That is true compassion at its finest. Linda if you happen to read this thank you so much you are a blessing to felines everywhere and I appreciate your generosity if only there were more kind souls like you. Thank you.


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