Charles Dickens once said that there is no greater gift than the love of a cat, and Albert Schweitzer added that music and cats are the only refuges to protect us from the miniseries of life. With such high regard for the felines, it is always disheartening to learn of the animals not getting the best that they deserve. Therefore when a sad situation leads to 20 cats living inside the Virginia storage unit, you must wonder how they survived in the cramped space. Here is the whole story of the lucky animals who are waiting to find their forever homes.
It all started with losing a home
Although they say, home is where the heart is, sometimes the literal meaning of four walls is highly regarded, especially by the law. Every living thing deserves a place to call home, and one woman in Virginia Beach wanted her cats to live with her in her house. Unfortunately, the plan did not work out when she ended up losing her home. Reports, however, do not disclose how she lost her house, but the cat owner was not ready to have her cats become strays. Therefore she found herself the alternative of living in a storage unit and moved her 20 cats into the unit as well.
Although it was due to the love of her cats that she kept them in a storage unit, in the eyes of the law, that falls under animal cruelty and neglect. As Nolo reveals, in almost every state, it is illegal to deny animals the necessary shelter, food, and water. In the case of the Virginia Beach woman, she may have been providing food and water, although the case is still under investigation. However, one thing that remains clear as per the definition of the law is that the felines were being neglected in the sense that they lacked enough space necessary for their proper health.
Still, the Animal Care and Adoption Center, however, said that the cats looked like they were in good health and had not been neglected. It added that the cats were understandably scared as they came to adapt to the new living situation. They cannot be sure if the investigations will reveal anything negative, but they have already concluded that the animals were well cared for and loved. The adoption center did not disclose how long the cats had been in the storage unit or if the owner was taken into custody. They said the cats are ready to be adopted after being vetted. The shelter is also trying to be empathetic to the cats since they were not used to big spaces; therefore, they are providing them with lots of boxes so the cats can stay hidden as they adjust to the shelter.
How you can adopt the cats
If you are interested in adding another member to your family, then Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center (VBACAC) will cater to your needs. As per their website, any animal adopted from the shelter is sterilized in adherence to the state code. They advise to not view the cats as companions, but rather as a responsibility for which you are willing to commit even your finances. After you are allowed to take the cats, which can be either immediately, you visit the shelter, or after a few days, you will have to take the animal to a licensed veterinarian within ten days for a thorough examination. That way, if the veterinarian finds the cat too ill that you do not want the animal anymore, you can return with the proof of illness.
However, one disclaimer is that the shelter cannot guarantee the temperament or health history of the animals. The adoption is also at the cost of $20 for the adoption fee. If the cat has been spayed or neutered at the city’s expense, then you will part with an extra $5 license fee and $40 non-refundable sterilization fee. If you prefer a cat that is not spayed, you will pay $10 for the license fee and a refundable sterilization deposit of $40. Cats not neutered at the city’s expense will only have you forking out $25 for the adoption fee and license fee. You will also have to fill out a cat adoption application form that can be downloaded from the website to assess if you are capable of living with animals without putting their lives in danger.
Another case of cats in a storage unit
While the Virginia Beach case is quite sad, other people are heartless, and one woman, Anna C. Elander, could not care less if her cats died or not. Therefore as reported by WABI 5, the 67-year-old woman stuffed her 12 cats in three plastic dog crates and left them without food, water, or a litter box for three weeks. It is only after one other customer visited her storage unit on October 5, 2018, that she heard the cats hence told the property owner.
The Humane Society Waterville Area officials visited the unit and found that three cats were already dead. The situation, this time, was pathetic because the crates were filled with fur, urine, and poop. The cats themselves were emaciated and could barely make a sound. Since one other cat died after arriving at the shelter, the remaining eight were referred to as “miracle cats,” and the shelter staff began rehabilitation in readiness for their adoption by November 2018.
By March 2019, Elander had been formally charged with animal cruelty and was facing a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of $5,000 at most. However, in November 2019, Anna Elander pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty charges and was sentenced to 364 days in prison, with only 20 suspended. Additionally, she has to pay $685 fine and perform 7.5 hours of community service. Elander also has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and will never be allowed to own a cat in her life. She can nevertheless own four dogs at most at a time.