|University Of Florida Organizing Massive Cat Rescue Effort |
LABELLE, FL. -- The City of LaBelle Animal Control department has accepted custody of approximately 600 cats following the closure of the Tenth Life Sanctuary in Hendry County located off State Road 80 east of LaBelle.
Maury Swee, the operator of the cat shelter is reportedly cooperating with authorities but has not allowed media to view the rescue operation. Swee reportedly took possession of the cats from individuals or groups with the understanding that Swee would take care of the animals in return for a payment by the cat owners, and that experiments may be performed on some of the animals.
A team of veterinarians from Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida will examine all of the cats on November 23rd through the 25th. The UF VETS program in collaboration with partners from HSUS, ASPCA, and other regional humane agencies have already performed a preliminary assessment and will set up a field hospital to triage and treat the large number of cats.
Although many of the cats are ill, the team hopes to save as many as possible finding capable placement partners that can take them in.
All cats have been spayed or neutered and microchipped. They will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, and tested for FeLV and FIV prior to transfer to other agencies. Several important infectious diseases, including herpesvirus, calicivirus, giardia, cryptosporidia, and tritrichomonas have been identified in the population, so appropriate isolation capacity must be available at the receiving agency.
Many of the cats are feral and require placement in highly enriched confinement or a free-roaming situation. Relocation of feral cats is especially challenging and requires a careful acclimation plan.
Transfers will begin on Tuesday November 24. The friendliest cats will be available for immediate transfer on that day, while remaining cats will likely require treatment. If an agency can provide a second chance for these cats, they may print and complete this application and submit it as soon as possible. More information will be available following processing of the application.
Officials say any group or individual that brought animals to the Hendry Tenth Life Sanctuary may reclaim them by submitting an application. Private individuals interested in adopting can contact the city of LaBelle Animal Control at 863-675-3381.
Help Needed At LaBelle's Animal Rescue Shelter
Hendry county has two other animal shelters including Animal Rescue of LaBelle, Inc., Hendry/Glades county's only non-profit 'no kill' shelter that has many healthy cats available to the public for adoption or for foster home care pending an adoption. Volunteers are always much needed to socialize the animals and for clean-up at the rescue shelter, located on the north side the LaBelle bridge just north of the Handy Store.