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    Cat shelter to close after inspection woes

    NewsCat RehomingWednesday 22 February 2012

    After a long battle with state and local officials, the CLAWS Cat Rescue and Adoption Shelter will close its doors, shelter founder Laurie Walsh said.
    "We have voluntarily requested to break our lease with Frankford and move out of the current facility," said Walsh, who ran the cat shelter for nine years. "Financially, we just can't take the harassment from the inspections anymore."
    Walsh said there are 230 cats still living in the shelter at 28 Pellettown Road in Augusta, and they need to be rescued to good homes or face euthanization.
    "Right now our focus is on getting these guys out to a good home, before anything happens to them," Walsh said. "But we need help. We need people to come forward as foster caregivers, and we need volunteers as well to help get the cats ready for adoption."
    There are a large variety of felines available for adoption, from kittens to adult cats of all breeds. All of the animals at the shelter have had rabies vaccinations and have been treated by a veterinarian for common health issues. Also, most of the cats in the shelter have been neutered.
    "These are some of the most sweet, loving cats that anyone will come across. They have all been examined by our vet and are all healthy and happy," Walsh said. "The shelter has been here to protect these animals from being destroyed after they were abandoned; now we need to find them a home before we are shut down."
    Walsh said the shelter has until April 15 to find a home for all of the animals and close its doors. Any animal left after that point will most likely be destroyed, she said.
    "This is devastating for me. My life has been about helping to protect and care about these animals for the past 10 years; now we have to close down," Walsh said. "I do not understand why it was made so difficult to run a community service shelter."
    Walsh said the CLAWS shelter took in cats from families facing eviction and foreclosures, strays and hoarding cases. The shelter was also a major facility for SPCA officials to bring animals taken into their care.
    Now, after nearly a decade of relying on donations from fundraisers, the CLAWS shelter can no longer meet the financial demands that are mandated by such agencies as the SPCA and the Sussex County Board of Health for a facility of its size.
    The shelter has been facing fines and threats of closure by theses agencies for chronic violations. According to Walsh, every time the shelter would fix one thing, the inspectors would come back and find something else.
    "The harassment just would not stop," Walsh said. "Now we have to shut down a facility that was providing a community service for free. I wonder what is going to happen to the thousands of calls we would get each month. Who are those residents going to call now?"
    There is a $40 fee to adopt an animal from the shelter. This fee includes up-to-date veterinary vaccine certificates, food for about a month and pet toys.
    Hopeful adoptees need to have a safe home that allows pets and a pet carrier to transport the animal. They also need to fill out an application.

    Source: New Jersey Herald

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