Last week, the Cleveland APL Humane Investigations team seized some 150 cats from the Cat Crossing shelter on West 25th Street in Ohio City. Citing "overcrowded conditions among a heavy accumulation of feces and urine," poor air quality and rampant highly contagious diseases, the APL team executed a search warrant and compiled a hefty amount of evidence of animal cruelty and neglect.
According to the investigation, the cats' living conditions were summed by the photo at right. Cat Crossing stakeholders said that the investigation's public representation doesn't tell the whole story and responded
Today the APL came and seized all of our cats. Their comments on their page were not truthful but I didn't expect them to be honest. They then came back and told us to open the doors and let the ferals outside or they would take them. The APL vet said they would be fine, they're feral cats. These cats would have no food, or shelter, they have been indoor cats for years. No winter coats being fed every day. Mary objected and tonight I do not know the fate of the feral cats. I sit here tonight totally sickened with sadness that this is happening. On APL FB page under the COMMENTS section, I responded to a post from the APL as a reply. It's long but I had to get it out. The truth prevails and that's all I spoke. Thank you all for your ongoing support. This is a very sad day for us at The Cat Crossing.
In short, no-kill shelter Cat Crossing has become something of a home for the near west side's large feral cat population. Food and warmth are provided to oft-nomadic cats of all ages. Those feral cats, which inevitably become "indoor cats" in winters like ours in Cleveland, were not taken by the APL.
Volunteers at Cat Crossing have cast the current issue as a rich-versus-grassroots dichotomy, which leads to a doing-more-with-less mentality for the smaller outfit, which leads to bleak and undesirable conditions. Volunteers have said repeatedly that, more often than not, cats are treated well at the shelter.
Legally, Cat Crossing's leadership did not surrender the cats last week; the animals are being held as evidence at the APL as all parties await a Feb. 6 hearing on the matter in Cleveland Municipal Court. The APL purchased extra cages to handle the cats.
spoke briefly on Monday with Cat Crossing founder Mary Wawrytko, who said she had been advised not to speak on the record until after the hearing. We'll update this story by next week.