The Orange County Animal Shelter (OCAS) expects to take in the final few cats that couldn't be wrangled up following an animal cruelty investigation raid on a Somerset farm.
Each week, a caretaker at Peaceable Farm rounds up more cats left behind after that raid that occurred back in October. The influx of cats and dogs since then has been putting a strain on resources at the no-kill animal shelter.
OCAS expects to bring in the final six or seven cats from the farm this week, while it continues to find new homes for the ones it already has.
The shelter’s director, Virginia Strong, and her team are beginning to get a break following two months of nearly non-stop work.
“It was very hard for the employees. It was a lot of cats to take care of, because you want to clean properly and take care of them properly,” Strong said.
Deputies with the Orange Co. Sheriff’s Office raided Peaceable Farm on Monday, October 19, finding over a hundred horses and many cats and dogs on the property. The farm’s owner, Anne Goland, surrendered 71 horses, 28 cats and 7 dogs over the course of a few days. More cats were later found inside a neglected house on the farm’s property.
“At this point, 60 cats from the farm, and 40 cats from another situation, on top of the fact that we were already full of cats,” said Strong.
Seven dogs from Peaceable Farm also ended up at the shelter. Strong says most of the animals were already spayed or neutered. Some had tick-borne disease, while several suffered upper respiratory issues and remain in medical isolation.
“They are actually getting better. A lot of them are pretty healthy now, just waiting for room up here to move them into the adoption section,” said Strong.
All but two of the dogs have been adopted. Several cats from Peaceable Farm are also in new homes.
“For a small shelter, it's a lot. We have a great staff, they worked over without complaining. They just took care of them. We have some volunteers that came in and helped,” the director said.
Helga Birdsong has volunteered for nine years at the shelter as a dog-walker. She remembers how hard veterinarians worked following the raid.
“They were working the dogs just as quick as they could, taking care of them and making sure they had their shots and everything,” she said.
Birdsong hopes these animals will find new and caring homes to continue their recovery.
“They deserve a good home and companionship,” said the volunteer.