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Publish Date: 3/4/2005

Dacono cat owners can go home
Humane Society deals with 26 infected felines


DACONO — City officials have given the green light for Pamela and Almon “Bud” Flanders to return home to the trailer that police say housed nearly 30 cats infected with ringworm and feline herpes.

“The only issue we had was the odor,” Dacono police Cmdr. Brian Skaggs said.

City officials deemed the home uninhabitable Feb. 25 after police entered the home to remove the cats and found the home was littered with cat feces.

Weld County health officials also last week expressed concerns about ringworm, because it can be passed to humans either by touching an infected area of an animal or indirectly through an object touched by the animal.

The Longmont Humane Society now is caring for 26 cats taken from the property, all of which are infected with ringworm, said Brianna Beauvait, Humane Society spokeswoman. Many also have feline herpes and are dehydrated, she said.

The agency has euthanized two cats with advanced cases of herpes. Six females are in the group and all are pregnant, Beauvait said, and only three of the males are neutered.

With the cats gone, Skaggs said, the building inspector believes the home no longer poses a health problem.

But it’s unclear whether the Flanders have returned home.

Pamela Flanders, 53, was taken into custody Monday and held on a 72-hour psychiatric watch after threatening suicide at a Del Camino Days Inn hotel. Police say she was distraught because her cats were being taken away.

The 72-hour watch has passed, but Dacono police are not sure if she has been released. An official at the North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, where Flanders was being held, said Thursday afternoon that she was not listed as a patient there.

Police have been in contact with Bud Flanders, a construction worker, but neither he nor Pamela were home Thursday afternoon.

Police first contacted Pamela Flanders on Feb. 22, responding to a complaint about the cats and the fact that their 17-year-old son lived in the home.

The son is believed to be staying with a friend in Estes Park and Bud Flanders was working out of town, according to police.

Pamela Flanders initially worked with police to remove the cats, but then became uncooperative after they arrested her on an unrelated warrant.

Pamela Flanders’ parents, John and Beatrice Berry, who are listed on property records as part-owners of the house, believe there is no way their daughter owned that many cats.

Beatrice Berry said her daughter spent two weeks visiting them in Indiana recently, which is likely when stray cats entered the home through holes in the floor.

“They are not her cats,” she said. “She wouldn’t hurt any animal.”

Their main concern is that Pamela Flanders lost her job of 16 years at Albertsons in Boulder.

Albertsons officials wouldn’t comment.

No charges have been filed against Pamela and Bud Flanders, but an animal rights group is pressing to Weld County district attorney to do so.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a letter to District Attorney Ken Buck urging him to file animal cruelty charges to address what PETA believes is a case of animal hoarding.

“It’s criminal behavior that has a pathological root,” said Daniel Paden, cruelty caseworker for PETA in Norfolk, Va.

Doctors believe animal hoarding is a mental condition related to obsessive compulsive disorder. Most hoarders love animals and have good intentions, but they fail to act when a population gets out of control and the animals begin to suffer, according to PETA.

Paden said PETA reviews at least 10 animal-hoarding cases a week nationwide, but often prosecutors fail to file charges in such cases. Facing charges, Paden said, would allow animal hoarders to get help and lessen the chances of repeat offenses.

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

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