Cat hoarding discovered in Casco
By Dawn De Busk
CASCO — A case of cat hoarding was recently brought to the attention of the Casco Animal Control Officer, according to Town Manager Dave Morton.
At Tuesday’s Casco Board of Selectmen meeting, Morton delved into the details of what the town had done to remedy the situation so far. He also outlined some of the options that the town could pursue to protect the felines until the animals can be adopted or transferred to local shelters.
One of the concerns — beside the humane issue — is that the cost of veterinary bills, testing the cats for infectious diseases, and temporarily housing the animals, is an expense that was not built into the 2012–13 budget, Morton said.
“I just need the board to understand that it isn’t in the budget. The owner agreed in writing to pay for it,” he said, adding that is not always a guarantee that the costs would be covered.
Any subsequent costs will require town meeting approval, Morton said.
He did not reveal the name of the property owner, but indicated the person has been cooperative.
“If there is a problem with the cats being ill, the owner could upfront the money to treat them. Or the cats may have to be euthanized,” he said.
There are between two dozen and 28 cats on the property. The cats in the worst condition are being cared for at a veterinary clinic. However, local animal shelters will not take the felines until tests results are available.
“The cats in the (veterinary) facilities are being taken care of. The cats in the house are being fed and watered. The other cats might be a challenge to catch — I don’t know if they are shy or feral,” Morton said.
He said that none of the felines had been euthanized — to his knowledge.
After stating that this situation concerned her, Selectman Tracy Kimball asked, “Who controls the health and welfare of the remaining cats?”
Morton responded that the state does not interfere with these cases, and it is up to the individual towns where the animal neglect infractions occur.
“That is up to the town of Casco.
“We were supposed to hear today — the results of the tests. If the cats have communicable diseases, the shelter cannot take them,” he said.
“If, indeed, we don’t get that information soon and shelters don’t open up, we may have to set up a shelter. We could move cages into a space like the Memorial School on the tiled floor until eventually they can be cared for,” he said.