A Wales woman will get her 83 cats back nearly a year after the state seized them from her farm.
Judge Charles A. Dow wrote in a Sept. 25 decision that Kathleen O’Connell had not “violated permissible standards” in her care of the cats, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal. He noted that the cats had clean bowls and adequate food and water.
Animal welfare officers on Nov. 5 went to O’Connell’s Ridge Road farm, where they encountered 65 cats in need of antibiotics, 52 with respiratory infections, 48 with dental disease, 25 with ear mites and 14 with ear infections, the newspaper reported.
The cats weren’t vaccinated against rabies.
While seizing the felines, other cats ran into walls, where animal welfare officers weren’t able to capture them. No one returned to the farm to capture the remaining cats, an oversight that Dow said “undermines the state’s position that the owner was mistreating or depriving the cats of necessary care and treatment,” according to the Sun Journal.
After their seizure, the cats were placed with Jordan Livestock Rescue, where staff were “devastated” by the judge’s decision, saying they are “deeply concerned about the welfare of the cats,” the Journal reports.
Down ordered the state to return the cats as soon as possible.