8 cats rescued from fire euthanized by animal shelter – The Killeen Daily Herald

Eight cats were put down by the Killeen Animal Services Department just hours after they were rescued from an apartment fire Tuesday afternoon, according to city officials and area animal advocates.

I was on Facebook when I saw the article about the fire, and I contacted the shelter to let them know I would be willing to take care of the cats at no charge while the owner got back on her feet, Kathy Kwieran of Kathys Kitties said. The person who answered the phone said it was an owner surrender and then transferred me to (Ed) Tucker (the director of Animal Services). He said, I wish you would have called 45 minutes ago because they are already gone.

Kwieran said Tucker told her the cats were euthanized because they were infested with bed bugs. Tucker told her he knew there were bed bugs because fire fighters on the scene later reported having bed bugs themselves.

The Herald asked the Killeen Fire Department if the firefighters did report having or seeing bed bugs, but it did not respond by press time.

Tuesdays fire affected four apartments at the complex, not all of which were believed to have been rented out, Killeen Fire Department Battalion Chief Douglas Foster said Tuesday. If there was a bed bug infestation, it could have come from one of the empty apartments.

The fire occurred around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday at Village West Apartments in Killeen. Animal Services officers were on the scene rounding up the cats, none of which were injured in the fire.

The cats had various health issues and were insect-infested, to include bed bugs, police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said when asked why the animals were put down so quickly. The animal shelter reached out to three different rescue and foster groups in the area, but were told no one had room for the cats, she said. They also spoke to a veterinarian about the health issues and a pest control service about bed bugs and were told if the cats were brought in, the whole shelter could become infested.

Miramontez said the shelter did not tell her which three foster groups were contacted. Neither did they tell her the name of the veterinarian nor the name of the pest control service. The Herald attempted to contact several area foster groups and veterinarians, none of which confirmed being contacted by the Killeen Animal Shelter.

According to bedbugsupply.com, cats are unlikely to carry bed bugs as the insects prefer to feed on people, as pet fur is difficult for them to move through. Bed bugs also do not lay eggs on their host, preferring instead to lay them in tight cracks and crevices nearby.

This generally means that the bugs will only be on a pet for a few minutes before retreating to their hideout, according to the web site. That tight window usually wont be enough to risk an infestation, but its certainly possible.

Killeen animal advocate George Fox expressed concern over how quickly the cats were put down.

They (Animal Services) dont even euthanize animals that are darn near rabid, he said. Plus, those guys (firefighters) wear jackets and all that equipment, so I dont see how they could even get bed bugs. Even if the cats had bed bugs, bed bugs should not be a death sentence.

Kwieran is the owner of Kathys Kitties in Killeen, and said the business has ample space to hold eight cats for a long while. She said she is currently only boarding three cats at the business, and could have easily housed the eight from the fire. Kwieran said according to her research, bed bugs in cats are very easy to take care of, only requiring vigorous bathing and disinfecting their bedding.

I have probably pulled 400 to 500 cats from the Killeen Animal Shelter over the years, and bed bugs are nothing compared to the type of cats I take from them, Kwieran said. Ive taken cats that are paralyzed, that are missing eyes, missing limbs, you name it. Bed bugs are nothing.

They used to call me and ask if I had space to take cats. Sometimes I would have to tell them No because I dont have space, but I tell them to always call me because that can change from week to week. I always want them to call me.

The rest is here:
8 cats rescued from fire euthanized by animal shelter - The Killeen Daily Herald

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