One of the witnesses who provided evidence that led to the raid on Tiger Ranch cat rescue north of Pittsburgh in 2008, now has a new job: finding homes for 180 surviving cats.
Carolyn DeForest was a volunteer at Tiger Ranch when she became alarmed at the condition of the cats there. After getting no help from local humane organizations, she turned to the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia, which took the case. With the help of DeForest and others, the Pennsylvania SPCA got a warrant to raid the 30-acre property in March 2008, seizing nearly 400 cats, virtually all of them suffering from severe contagious diseases that left many unable to eat. About 100 dead cats were found on the property.
In what is likely one of the largest animal cruelty cases in state history, rescue owner, Linda Bruno, aka Lin Marie, was charged with hundreds of criminal county. Bruno was to be sentenced Friday after pleading guilty in July to 12 counts animal cruelty, but the case was continued for the second time. Bruno's bail was revoked in October and she was returned to prison after evidence that she was again keeping cats, a violation of her bail agreement.
While running the rescue, Bruno took in thousands of stray and feral cats from as far away as Georgia, Indiana and New York from individuals and rescues who said they had exhausted their local options for saving the animals. Bruno faces up to two years in prison for each count in her guilty plea and fines of $12,000.
Meanwhile, the Sewickley Herald has the story of how DeForest has stepped up to help place the surviving cats, which have been housed at the PSPCA's Clarion shelter for almost two years. Why? Because Bruno fought to retain ownership of the cats. Now with the help of volunteers, many of the cats who were feral when they arrived have now been socialized and are adoptable, the PSPCA says. DeForest has scheduled a number of adoption days in pet stores around Pittsburgh in an effort to place the cats in permanent homes. If she can't place them all by Dec. 31, when the PSPCA has said it is closing the shelter, the cats will be sent to shelters around the state.