Felines feeling better after rescue

More than 80 cats were euthanized last week after police seized them from a cat hoarder in Willard. But the five who survived are improving everyday.
Annie Zelm
Feb 4, 2011


Five of the 86 cats seized last week from a woman's Willard home are responding well to the care of humane workers, officials said.

The animals still have digestive problems and have yet to be tested for worms and other health conditions, but their social dispositions may give them a better shot at adoption, humane investigator Kathleen Hampton said.

"We're going to try to make them better, but we just don't know what the end result will be," she said.

The cats' ages haven't been determined, and they still need to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated before a new owner can take them home.

Hampton said the cats haven't adapted to using a litter box yet, though it's an instinct for most cats.

It's likely they were never encouraged to use a litter box, or there were never enough boxes available in the Spring Street house they shared with dozens and dozens of other cats.

Police and humane workers seized the cats from filthy conditions last Wednesday after receiving an anonymous tip.

Most of the cats retrieved from the home were immediately euthanized because of illness or injuries, according to Huron County Humane Society workers.

Ruth Barnett, the homeowner, told officials she took in the strays and cared for them. She had not been charged with any crime as of Thursday.

Willard law director Scott Christophel, who is reviewing the case, hasn't returned multiple phone messages this past week seeking comment.

Hampton, meanwhile, said Barnett has called her multiple times each day to ask about the animals.

Hampton said Barnett is as a prime example of an animal hoarder — someone who has good intentions but is unable to adequately care for the animals she takes in.

A few months ago, Barnett promised Hampton she would spay or neuter the cats and wouldn't bring any more into the house.

At that time, Hampton said, it was difficult to determine how many cats actually lived there. There was also not enough evidence at the time to merit a search warrant.



Good news.....hope all goes well from here on out for them.   So sad for all the rest....their demise seemed like an awful quick decision.....seems odd to me that so many of them were unable to be saved....Maybe 80 some were just to many to have to deal with....care for...nurture back to health...find homes for?


Thank all of the "humans" for creating this huge mess of unwanted/homeless pets.   They think you just go get a pet and throw it out unaltered is the answer.   Maybe the "creatures" should teach the "human" race a thing or two.


This story is heartbreaking.  Sounds like Huron County's Humane Society is broke and can't afford to care for animals.  The Sandusky Petco has a cat adoption area which sits empty because Ottawa County's Humane Society pulled out.  Apparently, they couldn't afford to take cats there.  Too bad, many cats find homes in joint adoption arrangements.  I hope the economy improves before all these humane societies have to close.


One of the best cats I have ever had came from a hoarding situation in the Akron area....120 cats...an angel vet tech stepped up and found places for all of them to be kept while they looked for potential homes.  Very few were put down and then only because of disease.   It kept being anounced on the news that they needed people to adopt or foster....and I finally gave in and called....so glad I did!  The kitty that I got was beautiful...but considered unadoptable because she was extremely unsocial...it took lots of love and patience but she was so worth the effort!   I wish these cats could have had an angel step up for them!