Woman loses custody of 30 cats rescued from hot van in Fargo, USA

In a civil court case brought by the city of Fargo, USA, Tamara Fisher has lost custody (ownership) under a court order of 30 cats that she kept in the back of her Crysler van in what can only be described as highly unsatisfactory conditions. It would be hard to disagree with the words of a police officer who made the point that nobody could agree that keeping 3O cats in a vehicle the size of a large car is satisfactory and it could not be accepted by the authorities. Note: I believe it became 31 cats as a female gave birth and one kitten survived.

The rescued cats at CATS Cradle
Some of the rescued cats at CATS Cradle. Photo: David Samsom/The Forum
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

The city had to take ownership from Fisher before the cats could be formally and legally rehomed. The cats had been removed from Fisher’s vehicle on July 11, 2019 in 80°F temperatures. They entered the vehicle through the back window which was covered with cardboard. It took police two hours to remove the cats. The cats were panting and in a bad way.

The vehicle was parked up in a parking lot, was not running and there was no air conditioning. The situation was highly unsatisfactory. The authorities had to take steps to rescue the cats. Fisher complained bitterly.

“They forced me to have them, and I love them very much and I am not going to put them in full shelters where they could be euthanized..” – Fisher

31 cats removed from van in hot conditions in Fargo Thursday, July 11. Robin Huebner/The Forum

She says that she has been hounded by the authorities for ages. It appears that she has been living in motels and other temporary accommodation while keeping her cats in the van or perhaps even in the hotel. My assessment is that the woman wants to rescue cats but does not have the means to do so. She is frightened of releasing them to animal shelters because she believes that they will be euthanised. Comment: I can understand the problem and her thinking but this is not the way to go about rescuing cats.

In North Dakota, it is illegal to keep animals inside a vehicle, abandoned, said Sgt Mike Bernier.

Ownership of the cats has been transferred under a court order to a cat shelter, CATS Cradle. In the meantime, Fisher faces an animal neglect charge. The Executive Director of the shelter, Gail Adams-Ventzke said that it has been a difficult seven weeks holding the cats while waiting for transfer of ownership so that they can get on with rehoming them. Pending the outcome of the court case they could only provide basic care. The cats were cared for in foster homes. There are 16 males and 15 female cats. 25 are adults and six were kittens.

The day after the shelter became the owners of the cats the adult male cats were neutered and their matted fur shaved. The female cats will be spayed next week. They will be tested for diseases, vaccinated and microchipped. Some cats have heart conditions because of possible inbreeding. They will be medicated.

It appears that Fisher had been involved in breeding cats to sell to local pet stores. And the woman had been living in the van for weeks with the 31 cats I am told by Inforum.com. I am also told that she had been kicked out of motels in the area.

Comment: It is a sad case in many respects as it does point to human failure in dealing with responsible cat ownership. I feel that if Fisher had a lot of money the cats would have been well cared for although if she is a bad breeder I cannot have sympathy for her. The story is unusual for the legal transfer of ownership of 31 cats under a judge’s order.

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