Reprinted with permission from Cats Examiner, Barbara Kohn:
Over two years ago, Animal Control in Nye County, Nevada, took control of some 800 cats in what has been described as a rescue effort that turned into an extreme case of animal hoarding. FLOCK (For the Love of Cats and Kittens), a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation, had kept the cats in deplorable conditions in their facility in Pahrump, Nevada.
Nye Country convinced FLOCK owners to surrender the cats and then turned their care over to Best Friends Animal Society. “The Great Kitty Rescue,” as Best Friends called it became the largest successful cat rescue in American history.
Sick and Starving Cats
What Best Friends found when they came to the aid of the cats was a living nightmare. Most of the cats — like facility itself — were filthy, starving and dehydrated. As described by the Animal Law Coalition, “The FLOCK Pahrump facility was basically a large sandy lot surrounded by a tall fence with a few small buildings inside. The cats had virtually no protection from Nevada’s intense summer temperatures and bitterly cold winters.”
Cathy Ramsey of Lincoln, California, who volunteers with Best Friends, described the situation as follows:
“Best Friends sent out a call for help to all its volunteers. I had volunteered with Best Friends during hurricane Katrina; I decided to go to Pahrump. I was shocked and totally dismayed not only at the cats’ living conditions, but the horrible physical condition they were in. All of the cats were extremely underweight and so many were very sick or dying.
“I worked mainly in the makeshift cat hospital where I met Elmer and Emmet, the two kitties who eventually adopted me. Unfortunately my Elmer passed away at only 8 years old last summer. My vet feels strongly the harsh conditions Elmer lived through contributed to his young death. Emmet has a serious mouth condition that is definitely from the condition these poor cats lived through.
“In my opinion no sentence would be harsh enough for these horrible people. I am not alone in my feelings. Hurricane Katrina was a horrible natural disaster. What happened in Pahrump Nevada was a human made disaster that never should have happened.”
Case Goes to Trial
The case is now scheduled to go to trial this Thursday, February 11, in Nye County Court in Pahrump. To lend a voice to the support of the neglected cats, Best Friends and the Animal Law Coalition are seeking signatures on a petition urging Nye County Deputy District Attorney Robert Bettinger to prosecute FLOCK to the fullest extent of the law and take steps to ensure that the organization and its Board Members and managers are no longer allowed contact with any animals.