PA Woman Needs Help: Town Says Over 30 Well Cared For Cats Have to Go

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By Karen Harrison Binette

A Pennsylvania woman is heartbroken that after someone complained to the town, she must give up most of her cats and needs to rehome them soon.

Rhonda Goss moved into the Manheim Township, PA home she shares with fiancé Tom Groff in 2011, bringing about a dozen cats with her. An abused cat her daughter brought home had kittens, then there were six more. Since then, Rhonda has rescued kittens born to strays who visit the fields behind her home.Recently, the total number cats in Rhonda’s care had reached 44.

The house is clean and tidy, and there’s no smell.  The cats are all well fed and cared for. Rhonda buys three 18-pound bags of cat food and three 40-pound bags of cat litter every week. The cats are spayed and neutered and do not go outside.

According to the article at Lancaster Online that accompanies the video below, Rhonda’s vet  Dr. Fayez Awad confirmed that she spent $2,000 in vet visits this year, and the cats receive proper care. “Sometimes she brings five or six cats at a time,” Awad said. “She cares about anything minor. She will not wait until it is major.”

Rhonda must get rid of most of her cats or face fines for violating a Manheim Township ordinance that limits pet owners to a total of five adult cats or dogs or a combination thereof. She finds it unacceptable for any of the cats to be put down. After someone complained last month, the township notified her that most of her cats have to go.

A few cats have already been adopted, and a few more have a promise of adoption, but time is running out. The township has given her until December 21, to reduce the number of cats in her home to 5.

Assistant zoning officer Samuel Maurer will not say who made the complaint, and warns that he will take action if progress is not made.

Next door neighbor Joan Harris praised Rhonda for her conscientous care of the cats. Joan sees the cats out enjoying an overhead catwalk on the screend porch but was not aware of how many cats were in the home until recently.

Another neighbor is quoted saying “I would have guessed only three or four. There’s no odor, no mess, no noise. I never had any issues.”

Rhonda has been dedicated to caring for the large number of cats who have come into her home, but says it’s a lot of work and not something she would recommend to others.

The major complicating factor in rehoming the cats, other than area shelters being full, is that the cats carry or have been exposed to the dry form of the viral infection feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).  Only a small percentage of cats exposed to the virus get FIP, but Rhonda wants adopters to know the cats have been exposed.

You can see Rhonda’s cats, which are shown in two albums at her Facebook profile,  HERE and HERE.

Rhonda Goss can be reached directly by email at [email protected] or by calling 717-538-5664.
Manheim Township is adjacent to Lancaster, PA.
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0 thoughts on “PA Woman Needs Help: Town Says Over 30 Well Cared For Cats Have to Go”

  1. I am so sorry to hear about this. I too love cats and have many myself…though the limit here is also 5. But I have 10 in the house and about ten in the garage and 3 outside. I have fought animal control here and have gotten all of they spay and shots. My cats too are well taken care of. Fight this, I threatened them and they have left me alone. Do not go down without a fight, do not give your babies away. Good Luck from Albuquerque, NM

  2. Evidently there is a little money there to be able to afford this. I applaud her for doing such an exceptional job … but if it were me and I had the funds.. I would move. No question.

  3. This is another sad case where a responsible person is being taken down by a bad law. Cities and towns put these misguided ordinances on the books supposedly to prevent hoarding…they fail miserably and hurt good pet parents. Hoarding is a mental disorder and laws do not stop these folks from doing it. In Worcester we had a woman who had been in court on 3 different occasions and had all her cats removed. Hoarders generally do NOT take good care of the animals. This woman was banned by the court from having animals and she would just move and start all over again. The last time she had 78 cats in a 3rd floor apt and none were neutered. I know in Worcester I was told that I shouldn’t worry about having more than the allowed 2 pets in my home. I was told they wouldn’t do anything unless someone complained… The stress of not knowing if and when a notice would be stuck in my door caused me to move with my ‘family’. Laws only keep honest people honest. My heart goes out to Rhonda

  4. It is amazing that the c/o of a few well cared for cats get the town’s involvement but if there had been c/o her being abusive to the cats or the cats not being taken care of, she probably would have never seen these people. I think there are few cats around that have not been exposed to some type of virus. I had a cat that supposedly succumbed to FIP although the tests for it’s prescence were inconclusive. People need to mind their own business! If I were her, I’d fight it! Get an extension, pay a fine, get the laws changed. There is no way that she can get these cats into good homes by the date she was given. Fight it!

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