MEDINA, Ohio - The Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is crowded with cats four months after the county agreed to stop using a controversial carbon monoxide chamber to kill cats.
Stephanie Moore, executive director of the Medina County SPCA, said there are currently 102 cats in the shelter, 44 in foster homes and 66 cats on a waiting list.
"We never had a wait list before because we only took in the sick, injured, abused or neglected animals," Moore said.
Now, the shelter will take cats from owners or healthy strays. The only catch is the waiting list, which currently is about six weeks.
The influx in cats was expected after the county signed over the gas chamber in December to the SPCA, which destroyed it last month.
Moore recently ran a report that compared the number of cats that came into the shelter between December of 2012 through March of 2013 to the number of cats in December of 2013 through March of 2014.
She found an increase of 145 cats — 111 to 256.
Moore wasn't surprised by the numbers because some cat hoarders came forward and gave up their cats after the death of the chamber.
She also said the current situation is manageable.
"We always want to stay at or near capacity because what that means to us is that there are no animals out there suffering."
Tammy Harrison, of Litchfield, was on the waiting list for several weeks before she turned over some of the 14 stray cats that she had been feeding for a couple of years. She remains on the list to give up a few more.
She tried to give them to other animal facilities, but those were too overwhelmed to take the cats, and she didn't want to give them to the Medina County Animal Shelter when it used the chamber.
"I didn't want harm to come to them," Harrison said.
The Medina County SPCA is open from noon to 4 p.m. each day except Wednesday. The cost to adopt a cat ranges from $25 to $85.
The shelter does not accept feral cats.