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Jeanne Sager | Democrat

ONE OF THE dozens of cats up for adoption after being taken away from Gloria Smith’s house peers out of a cage looking for a little love.

Gloria Smith's Cats Taken In By County

By Jeanne Sager
COCHECTON — September 28, 2007 — The 82 cats removed from Gloria Smith’s basement last month will never go back.
Seized in late August from her home in Cochecton, the felines have been in the county’s possession ever since – and Smith has been charged with 82 counts of animal neglect.
To cover the cost of caring for the animals as her case winds its way through the courts, Smith was ordered to post a bond or she’d lose the cats for good.
Last week, Smith told the court she wouldn’t be posting the bond.
According to Assistant District Attorney Jim Farrell, Smith consented to the county taking possession of the animals in accordance with ag and markets law.
Currently being housed by Joanne Gerow, the cats have been evaluated by local veterinarians.
Those in need of quarantine have been separated from the healthy animals, and just five have been euthanized so far.
Already three have been neutered and tested for feline AIDS and leukemia and are available for immediate adoption. Each cat adopted out will have a rabies vaccination courtesy of Sullivan County Public Health Services.
Veterinarians Dr. Richard Schwalb, Dr. Larry Mauer and Dr. Richard Stein have each offered to spay or neuter a portion of the cats.
Hoping for similar offers from other area vets, Gerow said that will pave the way for another 35 healthy felines to be given to good homes.
The fate of the quarantined cats is still up in the air, and they are still under a veterinarian’s supervision.
Gerow said some of the seemingly unadoptable cats have already been spoken for – including a one-eyed feline she said a woman from White Sulphur Springs has fallen in love with.
Dozens more would make wonderful pets, she said.
Playful and easygoing, the cats come running at the sound of footsteps, and rub their heads against the front of the cat runs when a youngster stoops down to get a look.
They’re different cats than the ones Gerow brought in a month ago, she said.
The Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip that Smith had left the felines in her basement in hutches stacked four or five high.
Entering the premises, police said they found hutches lined only with newspaper.
Without litter boxes, the cats were forced to relieve themselves on the paper where they slept, police said, and the urine- and feces-soaked paper fell through onto the creatures sleeping below them.
Now they’re in wide-open runs, their food and water on ledges high above their litter boxes and away from the wood shavings where they sleep.
Still the cats have to be kept together, 77 waiting for someone to take them home.
So far, a number of local horse farms have stepped up to the plate – Gerow found homes for cats at Stonewall Farms, Stratton Stables, Brook Edge Farm and even with folks from the stables at Monticello Raceway.
Gerow is accepting calls at her home for anyone interested in offering a good home.
If no one comes forward, the Middletown Humane Society in Fair Oaks, which has provided substantial help in the case, has agreed to take them in – but the county will shoulder a $25 surrender fee for each animal.
The county is still pursuing its case against Smith, who is expected to return to court Oct. 15.
Ordered not to take in any more animals, Farrell said Smith was told the Sheriff’s Office will continue to make visits to her property on Pine Grove Road to ensure her dogs and another 16 cats are not being neglected.
To adopt a cat or to sponsor a cat, covering the cost of feline leukemia and AIDS testing, call Joanne Gerow at 292-5949.

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