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After animal cruelty rescue, Baltimore County Animal Services waives adoption fees

Kevin Usilton, Baltimore County's chief of animal services, holds one of the dozens of cats rescued from a home in Middle River.
Kevin Usilton, Baltimore County's chief of animal services, holds one of the dozens of cats rescued from a home in Middle River.(Cody Boteler/Cody Boteler)

Baltimore County Animal Services has waived all adoption fees until further notice in the wake of an animal cruelty case in Middle River in which a man and a woman each face more than 60 animal cruelty charges. .

More than 220 cats, living and dead, were recovered from the home in Middle River. Nearly 50 of the rescued cats are available for adoption in Baltimore County, said Kevin Usilton, the chief of animal services.

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So far, 30 cats from the home have been adopted, 30 have been sent to animal rescues, two were recovered by previous owners, 16 had to be euthanized, two died overnight and 19 are on “administrative hold,” because the couple accused of animal cruelty is suing Baltimore County to try to regain ownership of some of the animals recovered from their home, Usilton said.

Baltimore County Animal Services, in Baldwin, is at about 125% its normal capacity and will be waiving adoption fees until it reaches 75% capacity, Usilton said. Because of the influx of cats from the Middle River case, some animals were being kept it what is normally a classroom, and in other, nontraditional holding spaces, as of Nov. 21.

Usilton said the cats from the Middle River case were in various states of health. Some had upper respiratory infections, some had become exposed to feline leukemia and some had infections that had damaged their eyes. Medical staff from animal services track the health of the cats and refer information to the county State’s Attorney’s Office, which is pursuing the animal cruelty charges.

In one mid-sized visitation room, six cats rescued from Middle River remained after dozens had already been adopted from that room, Usilton said. Potential adopters can interact with the cats in the room.

There are perhaps a half-dozen food bowls in the room, and they are filled up regularly. Usilton said the cats, which officials have said were neglected or abused in Middle River, are “very food responsive.” He checks to make sure the food bowls are filled before he leaves each night.

The rescued cats were all named after types of produce or spices (“Shallot” and “Ginger,” for example) so they can be easily identified as coming from the same rescue.

As a government agency, Baltimore County Animal Services cannot solicit donations, but people can sign up online to volunteer at the shelter.

For more information on adopting a cat, the public can call 410-887-PAWS (7297).

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Before animals are adopted from Baltimore County Animal Services, they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

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