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Review for Erie Trap and Release, Erie, PA, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

Where to begin. I'll start with the one pro of this organization- when they truly are focusing on trap neuter and release (TNR) of feral cats, they are performing a wonderful service to the community. Unfortunately, that is really not the case anymore.
Taken from Erie Trap and Release's own website: "We are not a Shelter but an organization that works to Trap and Release or find homes for all cats and kittens". That's right, they are not a shelter but that is exactly what they are functioning as currently and it is a serious problem. Unfortunately things got out of hand and the owner is a cat hoarder, who truly believes she is taking amazing care of the cats. In reality, for at least the past several months (likely longer but that is all I can confirm for sure) she has kept around 20+ cats cooped up in dirty cages, with some not having the opportunity to run around, stretch, use their muscles or satisfy their hunter/playful instincts for months. That alone is cruel. They always have access to dry food as far as I know but of the many times I visited her residence (again, it's her house- not a shelter) the majority did not have access to clean water (bowls empty or water undrinkably dirty). There is not even enough litter in any of the litter boxes (which take up half of the cage anyway) to cover the bottom of the box, so cats can't properly bury their waste. I'm not sure how she decides which cats to put with which in each cage because it would be different every time, with different cats together with other cats in different cages each time I visited. So here is the huge problem. With a lack of resources to manage this many cats, a lack of knowledge about cat health, and the mentality of a hoarder who does not see the damage they are causing, these cats are all cooped up together in very unsanitary conditions. In the short 2-ish months I volunteered and donated to Erie Trap and Release, I can now confirm that a whopping 8 cats that were trapped in her cages (as opposed to TNR'ed) were diagnosed with FIP, a virus spread via feces (so the unkempt litter boxes and generally unhygienic conditions allowed this to spread like wildfire at rates far exceeding what FIP would normally be transmitted at). If you know anything about FIP, you know this is a death sentence for the cat, and a terrible death at that. Several have tested positive for feline leukemia as well, which can be easily transmitted from cat to cat in their small living quarters. How can this organization claim to be a "great" nonprofit when cats are actually dying from being forced to live in dirty cages at her house? As you would expect, this organization has been reported to the Humane Society in Erie, PA numerous times in the past and is currently under active investigation (you can call and confirm this if you'd like). The owner lied to me and said she had a permit to have this many cats at her residence but I recently found out she was questioned by the zoning ordinance in Erie, PA as well (you can only have up to 4 adult cats, so she is over that amount by about 15 at any given time). There is nothing legal or ethical about this organization. I know the owner believes she is doing her best but with no funding, severely delayed vet care (if any at all), lack of veterinary knowledge, and unsanitary conditions, these poor cats do not have a fighting chance if they get trapped in her house and contract the diseases the cats are spreading around to each other. Please do not support this "organization", as unfortunately at this point you would only be enabling an animal hoarder. It is unfortunate Erie Trap and Release is no longer functioning in the original spirit it began as, which was reducing the feral cat population via TNR.

Role:  Volunteer