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Publish Date: 5/10/2005

Ezekial and Snowball, cats seized from a Dacono home in February as part of an animal-hoarding case, have finally received a clean bill of health and are ready to be adopted from the Longmont Humane Society. Seventeen of the 26 cats taken from the residence were put down. The remaining cats were treated for ringworm and feline herpes. Times-Call/Erin McCracken

Ready and waiting
Dacono cats healthy and up for adoption

LONGMONT — Monkey reached his paw underneath his cage, meowed loudly and playfully swiped at fingers.

Along with eight other surviving cats taken from the home of a Dacono woman, the rambunctious gray short-hair will be put up for adoption today at the Longmont Humane Society.

Police trapped 26 cats at a Dacono home of Pamela Flanders on Feb. 25 and took them to the Longmont Humane Society. All the animals were infected with ringworm and many with feline herpes.

Seventeen of the cats were euthanized because they were too sick to recover or too wild for adoption.

Longmont Humane Society spokeswoman Brianna Beauvait named him for all the time he spent hanging on his kennel door in the quarantine room.

“I named all the cats, even the ones that had to be euthanized” she said.

The remaining nine are good cats with a clean bill of health, Beauvait said.

They represent a positive within a negative situation, said Michael Helmstetter, development director of the Longmont Humane Society.

“This was a laundry list of all the things you can do wrong caring for animals,” he said of the sick cats, and a lot went into saving the nine cats, from police trapping the animals to the Humane Society putting in the resources to treat them.

Concerned residents also donated $3,500 to help care for the cats.

“The completion of this process is now to find good homes for them,” Helmstetter said.

Neighbors first alerted officials to the plight of the cats after complaining about a bad smell coming from Flanders’ home. After Flanders failed to cooperate, Dacono police called in a hazardous material team to raid the house and seize the animals. She was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and is due in Weld County court May 19 for a pretrial conference.

According to Longmont Humane Society officials, the incident was the largest animal hoarding case the agency has ever handled. It was also one of the most challenging disease outbreak situations it has dealt with.

Because of their infections, the cats had to be quarantined in a special room and additional staff brought in to care for the animals, said Beauvait.

Many shelters don’t take cats infected with ringworm, she said.

Helmstetter said the shelter is lucky it had the room to accept the cats.

“There was a time 10 years ago, and maybe even not that long ago, that all of these animals would have just been put down,” he said.

“This is very much a success story,” Beauvait said. “Usually in these circumstances you don’t have the facility or the staff.”

The nine cats will be available for viewing in a special room today. For adoption information, call 303-772-1232.

Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at dcrowl@times-call.com.

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