NEWS AND VIEWS: On the face of it, this is another one of those cat rescuers turned bad stories. We see them from time to time when cats rescued by a rescuer need to be rescued from the rescuer! But we have to be careful when we criticise cat rescue charities because the stories tend to be black and white in the news media but they are normally more nuanced than that with some good and some bad and that appears to be the case in this instance.
Although the pictures featured in the New York Post story are hard to see. They show young cats either dead or dying in cages. It looks very bad. Chronically neglectful. The head of the non-profit, Cats of Meow York, Farhana Haq, has been arrested for alleged animal abuse.
She ran the cat rescue from the basement of her Woodhaven home. The news media story states that some cats were emaciated or foul-smelling with obvious severe illnesses. They were living in cramped, filthy conditions. There was no water and as usual many had respiratory infections.
In all, 44 cats were rescued and taken from the property; some requiring immediate medical attention.
It appears that a volunteer alerted the authorities. Specifically, they appear to have alerted ‘Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) to the alleged abuse, and within days, the NYPD, Queen’s District Attorney’s office and the ASPCA were involved’ (New York Post).
On their Instagram webpages the cat rescue charity tells us (see above) that all 44 cats were taken including 21 semi-feral cats. They were seized by the ASPCA. They inform us that they are seeking legal advice and their lawyer says that the founder will be exonerated when the truth comes out.
Haq was arraigned on animal abuse charges on July 3. She’s been released on “her own recognizance”. Bail is not required for this alleged crime. The nonprofit had 10 regular volunteers and they accrued $50,000 worth of donations last year.
Apparently, according to one volunteer, “a lot of people were concerned about the way she was running her operation. She was adopting out sick and unvetted kittens and she was ghosting [using foster carers]. There were a lot of problems.”
Haq has not commented. Her attorney has claimed that she has been victimised by “vindictive and accusative social media trolls whose ranks include disgruntled former employees”.
Comment: an attorney is meant to defend their client vociferously which is what they’re doing. But as I’ve mentioned the pictures tell a different story. They are horrible. Clearly there was some bad neglect. Although, it wasn’t all bad. They were operating what appears to be a successful TNR program and rehoming cats. There were some good here but on the face of it and without wishing to prejudge there was neglect perhaps because, as is often the case, things got out of control because there was too much work. This leads to neglect which in turn leads to animal abuse.
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