MENTOR, Ohio — Editor's Note: The below pictures from the Lake Humane Society are disturbing in nature.
Two days after recovering over 100 cats living in unsanitary conditions at a facility in Madison Township, Lake Humane Society has provided details and photos of their seizure operation.
Lake Humane Society Executive Director Lori Caszatt says investigators executed a search warrant after receiving multiple statements and photographs showing unsanitary conditions at what was revealed to be an animal rescue facility. Agents also found evidence of a lack of appropriate quarantine and veterinary care.
145 cats were found inside the facility. Most of the surfaces, including walls, floors, toys, and bedding, were covered in nasal discharge and mucus as a result of numerous cats suffering from upper respiratory infections. Caszatt added that many cats at the facility were seen breathing through their mouths because their nasal breathing was restricted by congestion and discharge.
Upon examining the cats, investigators found that many of the felines were emaciated, dehydrated, had untreated skin conditions, flea infestation, conjunctivitis, ear mites, ear infections, and other conditions. A majority of the cats were not under appropriate veterinary care. Specifically, the cat named Braveheart had not been seen by a veterinarian since March 2019.
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 Lake Humane Society.
Another cat named 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.
Other cats were found to have 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.
All of the cats were removed from the facility for medical evaluation and care at the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian. The cats are being housed at Lake Humane Society, where they are receiving treatment.
Caszatt says 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." She added that any claim that Lake Humane Society pursued this case, or any case, for financial gain is false. In addition, Caszatt says that claims that Lake Humane Society plans to euthanize the seized cats is false.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled to determine where the cats will be housed while the case progresses through the legal system.