This is a story of an apparently well-meaning and decent cat rescuer who couldn’t cope. She ended up with a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a companion animal. More charges are to follow. What went wrong?
The peculiar thing is that the cat rescuer, Lesli Martin, owner of Heart’s Rescue Sanctuary (621 Breiel Blvd, Middletown) was warned several times and given ample time to comply with the law but failed to make the standard.
Deputy Dog Warden Kurt Merbs said that most of the cats had infections and some were untreatable. At the time the Sherrif’s office searched the premises under a warrant, there were 49 cats at the rescue center. Five had to be euthanised. Twenty-one remained at the sanctuary under the care of people other than Lesli Martin.
Martin started rescuing cats eighteen years ago and opened the sanctuary in August 2014. Between January 2013 and June 2015, 192 cats had been adopted. She said she was adopting out two cats per week. This indicates a degree of success. This is not a cat hoarding case or a cat rescuer who has totally failed and ended up being a cat abuser.
The length of time that she has been rescuing cats begs the question as to whether her standards have declined or the regulations have become tougher and enforcement of the regulations more rigorous with respect to rescue organisations over the years that she has been in cat rescue.
It seems to be a case of a person who was just unable to maintain high enough standards and ended up with cats who were ill. Money probably had a lot to do with it. It is expensive to look after 49 cats to a good standard.
The authorities made it clear that they are reluctant to charge cat rescuers. They seek improvements in the organisation to avoid the need to rely on the criminal law.
“We tried, we reached out, and it’s a shame it has come to this,” Richard K.Jones (Butler County Sheriff) said.
There must be a moral in this story: don’t do cat rescue unless you know you can cope and do it properly and don’t get in over your head.