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Friday, Feb 15, 2008County: Schuylkill
Case Images: 1 files available
Alleged: Rita Rollman
Case Updates: 2 update(s) available
About 60 cats were found Friday afternoon in a borough home that was largely covered in animial feces.
According to Becky Moyer, feline manager at Hillside SPCA, about 20 cats were dead and 40 more were found to be malnourished and in poor health, being left alone for about one week.
"When we arrived at the home, we found about 3 inches of (feces) on the floors of every room except the kitchen and living room," Moyer said Friday night. "I put food and water down right away and they drank for about 45 minutes. I don't think they were fed or had water in quite some time."
Moyer said that according to neighbors, the woman who rented the home lived there more than two years but she never let anyone in. Her name is not being released until she is located.
"From what neighbors are saying, she had a job but she never associated with anyone in the neighborhood," Moyer said. "She kept the curtains drawn and everything was in darkness."
Neighbors called the landlord when they didn't see any footprints after the recent snow.
"The neighbors were afraid something happened to her," Moyer said. "When the landlord went in, he found the cats and a note saying she did the best she could with her mother's cats but she couldn't do it any longer. She said when she got to where she was going she would try to send something back. That is when the landlord called us."
Moyer believes the mother passed away but did not know how long ago and believes the woman left the home about a week ago.
"From what the neighbors can guess, she has been gone about a week but by the condition of the animals, she stopped feeding them long before that. They were nothing but skin stretched over bone."
Moyer said she also believes about 90 percent of the cats are blind because it was so dark in the home.
"They were scared when we went in and in trying to get away from us they were running into the walls. When we put the food down, you could tell they could smell it but they had trouble locating it at first," Moyer said. "We see that a lot with people who are hoarders and keep a lot of animals. They keep the curtains drawn so no one can look in and no light gets in."
Moyer said SPCA workers removed a few of the live cats but traps would be set up Saturday for the rest.
"This is going to be quite an undertaking," she said. "We will get the ones that are still alive out first and then deal with the ones that are dead."
According to Moyer, once the woman is located, she will be charged with animal cruelty, one count for each animal found in the home. Other charges may also be filed when an investigation is completed.
|A woman who moved out of a Schuylkill County house she rented and left behind 52 cats -- 13 of them dead -- will be charged with cruelty to animals, police said.|
Rita Rollman, 54, of Reading, moved from the rental house at 2256 W. Market St. in West Brunswick Township between Feb. 4 and Feb. 14 and left the cats behind without food and water, state police at Frackville said.
When the landlord discovered the cats, he contacted Hillside SPCA in Pottsville, which used traps to collect the live cats in the house.
Police said the woman had lived at the home for 3 1/2 years, and started out with three cats. They multiplied over the years, and became too much for her to handle, police said.
Several of the cats that were trapped were blind, according to the SPCA.
Becky Moyer, feline manager of the shelter, said she believes the blindness was caused by cats being kept in rooms where the windows were blocked from letting in light.
According to the SPCA, several of the animals were in such bad condition, they were humanely euthanized to end their suffering.
The charges had yet to be filed Wednesday and Rollman was not arraigned.
|Source: The Morning Call - Feb 27, 2007|
Update posted on Mar 2, 2008 - 7:30PM
|State police have tracked down the woman who investigators said abandoned dozens of cats. She could face cruelty to animal citations.|
Those who rescued the cats now have another problem on their hands. At Hillside SPCA near Pottsville workers are caring for about 200 cats.
"All the animals that get thrown out and no one seems to care about them expect for here," said shelter worker Erin Hammer.
Workers at Hillside SPCA have been feeding cats abandoned in a home near Auburn. The shelter has taken in 20 of the abondoned cats and its resources are being strained.
The cat population there just jumped by 20. Investigators said the new additions were among the 50 cats abandoned by a woman who rented a home near Auburn.
The cats were living in inches of feces and urine and about 10 were found dead.
Last week the SPCA fed the cats. Humane workers are in the process of trapping the cats and preparing cruelty citations against their owner.
"She left a note that she was sorry but she tried to take care of them but couldn't. She abandoned them," said Becky Moyer of Hillside SPCA.
Hillside is a no-kill shelter but so far, 10 animals from the home had to be destroyed.
"They are blind because of poor nutrition and she had them locked in rooms with the windows painted shut," Moyer said of the abandoned cats. "They were emaciated and they were totally, totally blind."
"I just can't even imagine. Like we said, animals are so defenseless against anything," Hammer added.
SPCA officials said they will return to the home filled with cats later in the week, hoping to remove even more.
|Source: WNEP - Feb 18, 2008|
Update posted on Feb 27, 2008 - 12:49AM
The Republican Herald - Feb 16, 2008
- The Republican Herald - Feb 27, 2008
- The Republican Herald - Feb 28, 2008
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