Elation turned to disappointment in the hours following the court hearing to determine the fate of the Whiskerville Cats.
Animal lovers were buoyed yesterday when they learned that Texas Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Sonny Jame, did not allow Wydell Dixonto regain control of 184 cats seized from her Whiskerville Animal Sanctuary, in Texas City, on January 3. It was initially thought by many that the cats would be released from Dixon’s ownership, and could be made available for adoption as soon as they were physically and socially prepared. Dixon’s attorney, R. Scott Shearer, will appeal to the county court, where the case will be presented to a jury. As a result, the cats will stay with the Galveston County Animal Resource Center for a while longer.
Dixon and her attorney argue that blame should rest with Whiskerville employee Kim Paskert. Paskert has from the start also passed the blame, by saying a volunteer had asked to care for the cats for the week or so before the seizure. The cats had obviously been neglected for far longer than a week, though, and witnesses testified to that effect. The animals were, tragically, starving even though there was 2,000 pounds of donated Science Diet food on the property; many had died, and the building was caked all over with feces. The cats had urine scalds on their feet and were so malnourished that their claws appeared to be extended, when they were removed from the sanctuary building.
Texas City Veterinarian Scott Johnson, who tended to several of the cats, testified, as did Texas City animal control officers, Amy Snider and Dana Bohn.
In one of most most heartbreaking bits of testimony, officer Bohn, in describing the building’s conditions and how the bodies were found, said that one of the dead cats was still sitting where it had been looking out of a window.
The outcome of the hearing means not only will the cats have to wait before they can, hopefully, be freed up for adoption, but that GCAS must continue to care for the nearly 200 cats while their fates remain in limbo. The shelter is sending out a plea for members of the community to come to the shelter and volunteer their time.
Authorities have now publicly stated that their investigation of Whiskerville is not completed, and the matter is not going to be over with once the fate of the cats is decided.
Video coverage of the hearing: