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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Help educate readers about feral cats-Tiger Ranch

(I did not write this-this came from a group I am in online)
Please send a Letter to the Editor to help educate the readers about feral
cats. The following news article covering the tragedy at Tiger Ranch is being
used to drum up hysteria describing ferals as rabid disease-carrying wild

Letters to the Editor
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

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Health agency warns people to avoid feral cats
By Chuck Biedka
Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nearly 100 cats buried at the Tiger Ranch Farm don't pose an immediate
health risk, but wandering feral cats there could become a problem, an Allegheny
County Health Department spokesman said.

On Friday morning, health department inspectors visited the farm -- which
had between 600 and 700 cats and other animals until they were moved to other
shelters -- at the request of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals, said spokesman Guillermo Cole.

"The 29 acres where she operated was the only site that has a well," he
said. "All of the other residential properties in the vicinity have a public
water supply."

The inspectors saw some cat skeletons lying exposed on the ground, but most
of the dead cats were buried or in freezers.

At the same time Cole warned people to avoid feral, or wild, cats at Tiger
Ranch, as well as those that might have wandered from the farm.

People should routinely avoid stray or feral cats anywhere because it's
unclear if they have had all of their shots to prevent disease, including rabies,
Cole said.

Tiger Ranch owner Linda Bruno, who is known to numerous shelter managers and
customers as Linn Marie, was jailed pending a hearing. Officials said they
couldn't say if the cats were inoculated before she turned them loose at the

Domestic cats, skunks and raccoons are the species that most readily spread

"There's no way for me to know if they had their shots or not," said state
Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser.

Several shelter owners said Bruno accepted feral cats from across the region
and even other states.

"Last January we sent about 50 feral cats. (Bruno) told us she would release
the feral ones on her property. She said she had 300 acres," said
Zanesville, Ohio, animal shelter executive director Larry Hostetler.

An Allegheny County property Web site says Bruno owns 28 acres, not 300.

Hostetler said Bruno always accepted feral and sick cats that are not
accepted elsewhere.

"She never took pets or healthy cats," he said.

The SPCA sting "comes as quite a shock to me," Hostetler said.

Fayette County humane officer Elizabeth Davidson is equally surprised
because Bruno showed compassion time after time.

Davidson said Bruno accepted the most sick cats, some with leukemia, that
were scheduled to be destroyed. She also did more.

"About two years ago a woman came in with a cat hit by a car. (Bruno) took
the cat, paid about $1,000 in veterinarian care, and then she gave the cat
back to the woman," she said.

Linn also took some abused dogs and cats that otherwise would have been
killed, she said.

Davidson said she has visited the farm more than once.

"It seemed clean and well organized" on her repeated visits in the past five
years. Her kennel managers have said the same things, she said.

Hostetler is thunderstruck.

"We've been there a lot, and there hasn't been a problem," he said. "This is
blindsiding me."

Tiger Ranch accepted sick cats, but feline disease strikes even the best
shelters, Hostetler said.

Last year the Zanesville shelter had to kill 150 cats stricken by a
fast-spreading and deadly disease, he said.

Dan Musher, development director for the Animal Rescue League of Western
Pennsylvania, said the league sent about 100 feral cats to Tiger Ranch during
the past two years.

"It was never very many," Musher said. "And our volunteer who did take the
cats said she never saw what's being reported in the news."

At least one shelter manager thinks Tiger Ranch's owner might have tried to
reach too far to help cats.

The Humane Society of Westmoreland County, in Greensburg, can handle about
100 cats at a time.

"That's about the limit," said executive director Kathy Burkley. "We do our
best, but we reach a point where we have to refuse to take them.

"I don't know how she could handle 700," she said. "The cost is

It costs the humane society about $250 to vaccinate and neuter cats and
remove any parasites, she said.

"It's constant fundraising here," Burkley said.

Meanwhile, the sting is causing worry for cat owners near and far.

Last October the Clifton, N.J.-based Angels of Animals made the long drive
from New York City's suburbs to deliver at least a half-dozen cats to the

"We were assured they went into foster care," said spokeswoman Ellie
Kowalski, who made the six-hour trek. "Now, we'd like to know if they are OK," she
said. "We will drive another six hours to take the cats back if necessary."

Chuck Biedka can be reached at or 724-226-4711.

Images and text copyright © 2008 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co.

1 comment:

  1. i have beenmn to tiger ranch 1 time and it was great also you look at the fact if she did not take all of them cat look at all the cats that would have been ethanized


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