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Tuesday, Jul 2, 2002County: Contra Costa
» Roger Mouer
» Dorothy Mouer
On July 3, 2002, Antioch Animal Services entered the home of Roger and Dorothy Mouer, located in Antioch, CA and began efforts to record information on the animals being housed inside this single-family dwelling. To date, Animal Services Manager, Robert A. Pena and staff have been able to photograph and tag approximately 125 (one hundred twenty-five) cats. There were an undetermined number of other cats present inside the garage that have not yet been photographed or documented, as a complete search of all areas of the house and property did not take place. The decision to investigate the Mouer home was made 5-6 weeks after Antioch Animal Services received a complaint that was filed against Mouer and a local cat rescue organization named Community Concern for Cats ("CC4C") of which, up until recently, Mouer was a member. Mouer's home is one of an unknown number of "foster homes" that house cats for the CC4C organization.
The Antioch resident that filed the complaint against Mouer and CC4C had filed a lost cat report at the Antioch Shelter the first week of February 2002. Then, three months later, in early May, while shopping for pet supplies at the PETsMART store in Pittsburg, CA, the cat owner on a whim, decided to walk over and look at the cats that were up for adoption by CC4C. As she viewed the cats being presented by CC4C, she stopped suddenly in front of one of the cages and was shocked to see, sitting in this cage, her missing cat, Damian.
While at the PETsMART adoption site, Damian's owner asked for an explanation as to how and why her cat ended up in CC4C's possession. She was told by the CC4C representative that her cat was "trapped" by a CC4C member and then brought to Mouer's home where the cat was housed up until that weekend when the decision was made to put the cat up for adoption.
After "finding" or acquiring the cat (Damian), CC4C failed to notify Animal Services as required by City of Antioch Municipal Code 6-1.36 and/or failed to notify the Contra Costa County Animal Services as required by Ordinance. 80-97 § 2, 416-6.200. Furthermore, CC4C failed to file a found cat report at either one or both of the animal shelters and failed to perform due diligence in searching for the owner of the cat.
In a letter to Animal Services Manager, Robert A. Pena, dated June 30, 2002, the Citizens Against Pet Theft United for Recovery and Enforcement ("C.A.P.T.U.R.E.") requested that Pena search Mouer's home and property, accompanied by a veterinarian, to determine the number of cats being fostered for CC4C, as well as determining their physical condition and overall general health. C.A.P.T.U.R.E. was informed recently that Laurie Noe, DVM, and Jane Lorie, DVM, examined the cats and made the judgment that the cats were being housed in a humane manner. CC4C is a frequent client of Dr. Noe and had agreed to pay for this evaluation. Dr. Lorie's contract with City of Antioch for veterinary services at the shelter was recently renewed for another year.
Prior to conducting the examinations of the 125+ cats, C.A.P.T.U.R.E. verbally suggested to Pena that in order to avoid a conflict of interest, he should enlist the services of a veterinarian that was not associated with the CC4C organization or with the Antioch Shelter. The suggestion was not taken. During the investigation, Pena and his assistant(s) photographed each cat, and scanned each cat for possible microchip identification. One cat was found with a microchip ID, reflecting a Vallejo address. Currently, attempts are being made by Antioch Animal Services to locate the cat's owner.
Additionally, in C.A.P.T.U.R.E.'s June 30, 2002 letter to Pena, they requested that Pena obtain the written records for the cats found inside the Mouer home (i.e., details regarding the location where CC4C obtained these cats (street, city), whether or not any of these cats were surrendered by their true and legal owner, if the cats were feral cats then details regarding the location where the feral cats had been trapped, and records of vaccinations and any other pertinent medical histories, etc.). As of July 9, 2002, no records have been produced by Mouer or the CC4C organization.
As the possibility exists, that other cats reported as lost, missing, or stolen, could be residing in this home and possibly other CC4C foster homes, on July 15, 2002, Antioch Animal Services provided the administrator of the www.contracostalostandfoundpets.org web site photographs of some of the cats being housed inside the Mouer residence. The site administrator states, "Every effort will be made to upload the photos onto the web site as quickly as possible so that residents of Contra Costa County and the surrounding counties can search through these photos for their missing cats."
Recently, C.A.P.T.U.R.E. viewed the photos taken at the Mouer home and the following determinations were made. There were over 150 cats that were being housed inside the homeowner's garage. The majority of the cats were restricted to living in small cages or in larger cages but having to share the larger space with two or three other cats. It appears that a small number of the cats are allowed to roam freely throughout the garage area. Although, the social behavior of the cats has not been observed in person by C.A.P.T.U.R.E. representatives, it appears that many of the cats are tame, i.e. either they have been previously owned or they have previously experienced interaction with humans. Some of the cats do appear to be feral however; absolute determination of the emotional disposition cannot be made without seeing the cats in person and away from this stressful environment. Many of the cats appear to be overweight most likely due to lack of exercise. Some cats are in ill health, which has been corroborated by the veterinary exams. Feces can be seen in many different areas of the cages. It is not known exactly how long the cats have been living inside these cages, however, numerous studies have reported that long-term containment is extremely detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of the domestic feline and even more so for the felines that are feral.
Pena stated that the public would be informed, via a press release, of the opportunity to find their missing cats. The public will be instructed to go to the above-referenced web site or to the Antioch Animal Services web site to view all photos taken at the Mouer residence. If, after seeing a photo that closely resembles their missing cat, the public should call Antioch Animal Services to request an "in-person" viewing of the cat or cats. Those particular cats will be transported from the Mouer residence to Antioch Animal Services at 2nd and L Streets, next to the police station, on one as-yet-to-be determined day. Owners should bring with them photos of their missing cat, or any other documentation that provides proof of ownership for the cat in question. Cats not claimed by August 3, 2002 will be made available for adoption. Antioch Animal Services may be reached by calling 925-779-6989 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. When you hear the recording, dial "0" for immediate assistance.
Residents of Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano counties, or people who have lived in those counties at any time during the last five years and whose cat disappeared during their residency, are strongly urged to visit the web site www.contracostalostandfoundpets.org and go to the page named "Rescued Cats" to look for their missing cat.
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