North Carolina, USA: this is the story of two people; on the one side we have a woman, Tamara Perez-Lazaro, 46, who has been convicted of the misdemeanor of animal abandonment. She received a 10 day prison sentence. She abandoned 16 cats almost 2 years ago. On the other side of the story we have a lady in Harnett County1, Kathy Kamins, who is driven by a passion for animal welfare and who has been searching for the 16 cats ever since. She is picking up the pieces as people like her so often do.
This was a particularly gross example of cat abandonment because it involved 16 cats which had come from county animal shelters. The cats had been rescued and then abandoned as if on some ghastly cycle of events. Perez-Lazaro had pulled all but one of the cats from Cumberland County Animal Shelter on the understanding that they would be re-homed or taken to other shelters. In complete rejection of her promise she apparently dumped them when a boyfriend moved into her home. The boyfriend is currently serving a prison sentence on an unrelated felony charge.
Some of the abandoned cats are declawed and some are on medication. All 16 of the cats were dumped out of a car along roadsides in Johnson County! Earlier Jennifer Hutchinson-Tracy the shelter manager for Cumberland County Animal Control had become concerned about the possibility that Perez-Lazaro was a hoarder. We have seen these cases before: people supposedly involved in cat rescue who are in fact cat hoarders.
Kamins and her team which she calls “Team Garner” have worked tirelessly to find the lost 16 and within six weeks they had rescued nine of them. To this day she continues to look for the remaining four cats were still missing. One of the cats has died.
Kamins demonstrates persistence and determination. She continues to put ads up on Craigslist with pictures which publicizes her work in the interests of finding the remaining four cats. She keeps her mision in the forefront of people’s minds.
“It’s one of the most horrible things I have been through with animals”.
Some of the cats have been luckier than others. One of them, Achilles, was recovered soon after being dumped. He was out looking for food and luckily for him a woman had put down food for another stray cat which drew him to her property. He was fed by this woman. Kamins didn’t know about it till much later. She found out when the lady took Achilles to a veterinarian who discovered that he was microchipped. He was given a new name ‘Grady’ and his middle name is ‘Mischief’.
What strikes me about the story is the contrast between the two women. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum in our relationship with domestic cats. The abandonment is one of the worst I read about and the recovery process is one of the most determined and persistent that I have encountered in my travels across the Internet. It needs to be reported because this is a special woman.
Contact Kamins at 919-889-0085 or email KathywithaKtheonlyway@yahoo.com if your can help.
1. Harnett County is in North Carolina.
Source: The News & Observer.