Orange County, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services recently received 40 cats from a single Orlando residence. A majority of the cats, which are predominantly Siamese, have fearful temperaments and mild health issues, such as eye infections. The shelter is seeking cat adopters for this group of felines, as well as the dozens of others currently in need of placement.
Animal Services was first alerted to the situation by a concerned citizen who requested a welfare check for the animals. The homeowner was initially hesitant to work with Animal Services, concerned that intervention may lead to negative outcomes for the cats or for the home, which was in disrepair. Animal Services Officers spent weeks developing a rapport with the homeowner that enabled them to peacefully collect the cats over multiple trips.
Due to the fact the homeowner cooperated with Orange County Animal Services, citations were not issued, however, the case was turned over to Orange County Sheriff’s Office for their review.
“At the root of animal hoarding situations is often a kind-hearted, but misguided person who started out with a desire to help animals, but becomes overwhelmed over time, with the conditions around them deteriorating day by day,” said Diane Summers, manager for Orange County Animal Services. “When we intervene we find the pet owners are often scared of working with us for fear that the animals will be humanely euthanized, but we take every effort to ensure we can find live release placement.”
Of the 40 cats from this residence, 15 are currently in foster care, four have already been adopted, three are in the care of a local rescue group and one was humanely euthanized due to medical concerns. The remaining 17 are still in the care of Animal Services. Of those 17, nine cats are ready for immediate adoption and eight are still in shelter’s “special needs” room while staff attempt to socialize them and treat their mild medical issues. The eight in the “special needs” room would benefit from adoption with experienced cat owners or rescue groups that can provide them the time and attention they will need to thrive.
In addition to this group of cats, the shelter has dozens more available for adoption. Animal Services is currently offering in-person adoption via appointment, but is making a strong push to offer cats and kittens via virtual adoption, facilitated by FaceTime or Webex. Virtual adoptions allow the interested pet parent to meet the animal on camera, with assistance from staff or volunteers, minimizing human-to-human contact as much as possible. If the interested adopter wishes to take home the pet, they can complete the application digitally and coordinate pickup with staff.
Animal Services began offering virtual adoptions in mid-April when the shelter was closed due to COVID-19 concerns. To date, the shelter has facilitated 442 virtual pet adoptions and continues to put effort into expanding the program.