Rescue group saves 14 cats from animal cruelty case

Update 10:17 a.m.

More than a dozen cats will get a second chance after they along with dozens of other cats were seized from an animal rescuer's West Knox County home last month.

Officers issued a search warrant at Annette Traore's west Knox County home in October. She's the owner of "Almost Home Animal Rescue." Inside officers found 41 cats scattered throughout the unlit and unventilated basement, living in cat feces and urine.

On Friday night, we reported that Young-Williams Animal Center was planning to euthanize 14 of those cats after learning they had ringworm. But before the cats were scheduled to be euthanized, an out-of-state rescue group arranged to pay a local vet to treat the cats until they're healthy. Next, the rescue group will transport the cats to another state. Young-Williams worked until late last night to set up those arrangements. YWAC said it's not able to release the name of the out-of-state rescue group or the local vet, who will treat the animals, at this time.

YWAC staff will start transporting the cats from its Division Street location to the vet at 10:15 a.m. Saturday. YWAC is encouraging people to spaying and neutering their pets to avoid situations like this one.

"Until more animals across our region are spayed and neutered, overcrowding will continue to be an issue that leads to these unwanted life-and-death decisions," Ashin said.

As of Friday, there were more than 200 cats at Young-Williams. Dr. Rebekah DeBolt, director of shelter medicine, said the highest number the shelter typically sees is 180 cats.

"We are completely full of cats right now. We don't have room to juggle them at all so these are just sitting here waiting for ones on the adoption floor to get adopted," Dr. DeBolt said.

Traore's lawyer, Jason Baril with Ogle Elrod & Baril, agreed that more cats need to be spayed and neutered, adding that Traore had tried to get the cats adopted.

Baril said officers cited Traore with five Class A misdemeanors, each one totaling nearly a year in jail. Baril said he doesn't believe she will get the maximum punishment.

Traore will appear in court next week.


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