Ausitn Pets Alive! , a nonprofit group that regularly rescues animals from the euthanasia list at the shelter, took in the 14 cats that were amongh 52 rescued from the home of an Austin woman on Sept. 16.
The cats were facing likely euthanization due to their lack of socialization - many of them appeared to be feral, with little experience with humans - and various medical issues, or for cage space, APA! officials said.
(While certain city ordinances have aimed at decreasing the euthanization rate on TLAC, the shelter is far from "No Kill," which means that groups like APA pull adoptable animals from the euthanasia list on a weekly basis).
When the 52 live cats were pulled from the home, another 26 cats were found dead at the unoccupied South Austin apartment rented by the woman - presumably for the purpose of housing the cats.
The woman's name has not been released, as no charges have been filed and the police investigation is still ongoing.
A news release from APA! described the apartment as "horrid conditions" for the cats.
"The Center has finished their cruelty investigation and is releasing the last 14 cats for 'final disposition' which translates into euthanasia if Austin Pets Alive does not save them," the statement said. "The remaining 14 need to be removed from TLAC as soon as possible or they will likely be euthanized as soon as the cage space is needed for incoming cats at TLAC."
According to APA!, they rescued three on Sept. 22. The Austin Humane Society rescued another 17, and other shelters and rescue groups have helped as well. It was unclear which groups also pitched in.
A call has been put in to TLAC officials to find out if any of the cats removed from the apartmemt had to be euthanized for medical reasons, as well.
"These cats were left to die at TLAC because they are very scared of people and some have a skin condition. But Austin is a very loving and giving community and we are hopeful that adopters and fosters will come forward to help us save these cats," said Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! and a local veterinarian. "We believe that these cats deserve a second chance at a new life and that none are too scared or too ugly to save."
The group is asking for donations to help with the care of the cats - which will cost about $100 for each feline. Almost all of the cats will need to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and given medical treatment which will cost the organization about $100 per cat.
"APA tries to save as many cats as possible from death at TLAC every day but this is a special case that is requiring us to pull a large number all at once." Jefferson said.
The vast majority of animals in need of saving from euthanasia at Town Lake Animal Center have no serious health problems and $100 covers the cost to get each medically ready for adoption.
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