It’s not easy to take in 40 animals, treat their medical ailments and get them to new families.
But three local shelters are doing that with cats and dogs taken last month from a home in Pittsboro.
Authorities removed the animals from a mobile home and the surrounding property. Along with cats and dogs, a 400-pound hog, poultry, horses and cows also were seized.
Chatham County Animal Services is still investigating Stephanie Joostema, the woman who lives in the mobile home. So far, she is charged only with allowing livestock to run at large.
SAFE Haven for Cats, a cat rescue in North Raleigh, took in 34 cats found at Joostema’s home. The SPCA of Wake County took 10 cats and two dogs. The Wake County Animal Shelter took in a 130-pound lab that couldn’t walk when it was removed from the home.
To make adequate room for their new guests, the shelters, which fill up quickly in the summer, are looking for volunteers and people who are willing to adopt animals.
Most of the animals are doing well, shelter leaders said. The dog with Wake County has already started to walk again, said the shelter’s executive director, Jennifer Federico.
Typically, the Wake County Animal Shelter can’t assist with taking animals from hoarding situations. As a municipal shelter, it can’t turn away animals that are surrendered or abandoned in the area it serves, so it’s usually full, Federico said.
“This was a special case for us,” she said.
The SPCA of Wake County is still evaluating the animals it received, said spokeswoman Darci VanderSlik. Early observations showed skin and eye irritation, possible upper respiratory infections and hair loss.
One cat also appeared to be missing part of its tongue, VanderSlik said. If there are no serious medical problems, the cats should be ready for adoption within a week.
“These cats are so friendly, they’re going to make fantastic pets for someone some day soon,” VanderSlik said.
While the SPCA of Wake County and the county animal shelter struggled to find space for the animals, SAFE Haven for Cats is struggling to find the money to rehabilitate the cats. The rescue named the cats the Chatham County 34.
“As the cost of care grows, SAFE Haven is now asking for community support to help pay for the care of the Chatham County 34 before finding them safe, loving homes,” the organization said in a news release.
SAFE Haven’s executive director, Pam Miller, expects treatment of the animals to total thousands of dollars.
Some of the cats have upper respiratory infections. Two of the cats had kittens the night before SAFE Haven took them, and those kittens require extra care, including feedings every five hours administered by volunteers.
Several cats also need extensive dental work, which can be up to $600 per procedure, Miller said.
The organization has already finished treating one cat, a female named Islip. She is the first of the Chatham County 34 to go up for adoption.
Miller said she expects most of the cats to be ready for adoption in the next week or two.