HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown woman whose home was entered by officials last week to remove 42 cats said Monday that she wants to have the animals returned.
“I miss them. They’re like my kids,” said Gladys Mills, an occupant of the two-story brick duplex at 40 Charles St.
Mills said she didn’t adopt the cats. They came to her house and stayed when she started to feed them.
“I didn’t want them to be hungry,” she said.
On Monday afternoon, two dishes of food remained on a walkway in the backyard of the home. A lone yellow cat that apparently escaped capture lounged on its side in the grass.
Humane Society of Washington County spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said 39 live cats and three dead ones were taken from the home. Ten of the cats had to be euthanized because they were suffering from a variety of health problems, including dental disease, upper-respiratory disease and ruptured eyes.
She said the surviving cats were being treated by veterinarians at the Humane Society.
“There were kittens and adult cats,” Cooker said. “We’re trying to get them well.”
Cooker said the Humane Society cannot put the cats up for adoption until an investigation has been completed.
She said the Humane Society learned about the situation from concerned neighbors and served a search warrant Friday with the help of the Hagerstown Police Department and Hagerstown Housing Authority.
Cooker said Mills and her son, Roger, who also lives at the house, have the right to appeal to have the cats returned. She said they could face animal neglect charges if the investigation determines they were negligent.
The Humane Society takes in about 4,000 cats per year, Cooker said. Large intakes such as the one on Friday put a strain on the organization’s resources.
“We have limited space,” she said.
Noelle Morris, who lives at 46 Charles St., next door to the duplex, said Mills had numerous cats, but the animals didn’t create a problem.
“They were in her yard and in our yard,” Morris said. “I only saw four or five at a time. They didn’t really bother us.”
Want to help?
Those who want to donate money to help pay for the medical care of the cats may call 301-733-2060, go to www.hswcmd.org or stop by the shelter at 13011 Maugansville Road.