The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 10, 2013

Police seize dozens of cats from Clinton home

CLINTON — The Clinton Humane Society has accepted more than 50 cats that were removed from from a Clinton home, following a YouTube video depicting youths shooting cats with a BB gun.

Clinton Police Capt. James Klaes confirmed that an investigation of the video led police to a house at 837 Fifth Ave. North. Two citations were issued to the homeowner, Margaret Rettkowski, for animal cruelty. The investigation is ongoing.

Klaes said that officers found the homeowner to be overrun by cats, telling them they could take the animals because she could not control them anymore. A total of 27 cats were taken to the Clinton Humane Society on Monday.

The humane society accepted 25 more cats today related to case. Operations Manager Sandi Bartels expects to see more brought in Wednesday.

Bartels and staff said the cats, ranging from kittens to adults, are mostly in poor health. Almost all of the animals have fleas and ear mites. Some have tapeworms.

Bartels said they are suffering from malnutrition and many have sores. She has rarely seen young cats with bad teeth. However, a large percentage of these cats have rotten and broken teeth.

Animal Care Specialists Jessica Bielema and Jessica Alvarez said most of the cats are well-behaved. They just need proper care, Bielema said.

"They are pretty good. Hopefully they can stay healthy enough to get going," Bielema said.

It will be awhile before any of these cats are up for adoption. For the time being, they have to be kept separate from the other cats. Staff will utilize any extra cages, crates and rooms available to them to house these cats.

"They may be doubled up in the cages, but certainly they'll all have a litter box. They'll all have food and water. They'll all have toys and a place to sleep," Bartels said.

With more cats possibly coming in, she will work to find space for all of them.

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