As central Florida prepares for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall, there are additional tasks for the Orange County Animal Services team. They have spent the last 2 weeks rushing to find placement for 88 cats saved on August 14th, 2019. And what is different about these felines? Well they just happened to have been saved JUST before their lives were going to take a turn for the worst.
The 88 cats were loaded into cages in a box truck, with the plan to abandon them in the wild.
But when police noticed the open box truck, thankfully those plans were halted. Two men were also found at the scene near 36th Street and South John Young Parkway. The box truck had been parked near a wooded area.
“There were also animal cages filled with cats that appeared panting, lethargic, and wet,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “No arrests have been made at this time, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Agriculture Crimes unit is investigating.”
Orange County Animal Services was contacted and they arrived to welcome the suffering cats into their care. They are Orange County’s only open admission animal shelter and receive an average of 53 dogs and cats…every…day!
Well, brace yourselves.
“Following eviction from their residence, the owners of the cats loaded them into a truck with intentions to release them in North Florida,” animal services said in a statement.
And if police hadn’t found the box truck, those 88 cats would likely be fighting for their lives.
Not only do we have no clue what their life was like before this, the Florida wild is a dangerous place. Cats don’t simply “adjust” to living in the wild. They’re used to having a constant food source, water and their own territory. It’s life or death–every day to survive. So why would the family take them to North Florida from Orlando just to dump them?
Well apparently in their minds, they were doing what would give the animals a chance to “survive”.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that, “According to an email sent to local pet rescue groups Thursday, the owners said they chose north Florida so the cats would be “away from alligators.”
But there are gators ALL OVER Florida. There are snakes, bugs and about a dozen other things off the top of my head that pose a danger to stray/feral cats.
Not to be a broken record, but fixing the cats initially so they didn’t reproduce would have been the best option. This story is just one more reason proving if you don’t, the population can get out of hand VERY quickly.
And clearly it’s not as easy to surrender 88 cats as it would be only a handful. But nothing even mentions the owners considered surrendering the cats to an organization. This was their “easy way out”, regardless if they were putting the cats’ “needs” first in their minds.
So now the shelter needs to find placement for the hoard of felines–quickly!
“Due to the spectrum of medical and temperament conditions, and large quantity. The shelter is hoping to secure placement for the cats as soon as possible. So they can begin receiving individualized care and attention,” Holsten said in the release.
After a few of the cats scratched the owners, the shelter had to take further precautions. In fact, they needed to be sure there were are no hidden illnesses or medical conditions. So the clowder were all put in quarantine until last Friday. There were no reports of any serious issues released.
But I mean really–if you were one of the cats, wouldn’t you scratch the “owners” too?
Sadly, there are only about 10 of the cats that have been placed in foster or shelter care to date.
“Over the years, I have seen these dedicated rescue organizations and the network of active adopters rally together time and again. [They] help the shelter when it’s facing a sudden influx of pets in need,” said OCAS communications manager Kristin Tsukamoto.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle when our community unites to find placement for animals in dire circumstances. And it is my sincere hope, and the hope of the shelter’s staff and volunteers, that this can happen again. These cats deserve a second chance.”
So if you are interested in adopting one of these lucky 88 cats–or ANY of the almost 300 cats in their care, visit them HERE.
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR & AS ALWAYS, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!