Steve Shanson, Florida
Fights Cruelty at Work and Home
My partner and I owned a property management company in Tampa, FL where it was almost a daily occurrence to find cases of abuse. What was even more appalling was the difficulty in prosecuting anyone found guilty of such acts. I worked very closely with the Hillsborough County Animal Control officers, as I would quite often find abandoned, abused and neglected animals.
In one case, our maintenance staff responded to a call regarding a water leak from an upstairs apartment. Upon entering the apartment, they were shocked to find numerous cats and kittens and an apartment literally soaked with urine and feces. The scene was absolutely heartbreaking. Many of the cats were so ill they could no longer walk without falling. Some had just given birth, as tiny kittens were in the mix. They, too, were very ill. The tenant was a true animal hoarder. She admitted to capturing cats and kittens to "help" them.
I summoned animal control to the scene. Sadly, none of the cats could be saved. They were all far too ill and diseased. Of course, I evicted the tenant. After she vacated, the maintenance staff found holes cut into the walls presumably to allow a play area for the kittens. They were shocked to find dead kittens trapped in the areas between the floors.
During the hearing, the animal control officer sat beside me. The animal control officer made a note of the new address the tenant gave in court. The officer later contacted me to say that the tenant had relocated to a nearby apartment complex and was up to her old habits. This time, they found over 40 cats and kittens.
My partner and I sold our management company and moved to a more rural area of Tampa Bay. We immediately noticed many feral cats. We set out to combat this problem and located a local nonprofit to assist with the task of trapping, neutering and releasing the cats. It worked! Slowly but surely the cat population stabilized.
We now live in Virginia with our 9 cats we acquired from our feral colony in Florida. We never thought that they would become lazy house cats...boy, were we wrong. They are all very happy and content.