Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When 'cat lady' died, neighbors came to the rescue of her 110 pets

JOHNSON CITY, Texas – When a Johnson City woman known as the "cat lady" died, leaving behind more than 100 felines, neighbors sprang into action to help find them homes.


Sheriff Bill Elsbury said his deputies visited Glinne Berry's home about once a week to check on her welfare before the 72-year-old woman died in July of an apparent heart attack. "Any money she had, she spent on cat food," Elsbury said.


Most of the estimated 110 cats left behind were healthy and available to be given new homes, officials said. But Blanco County has no animal control agency or animal shelter, so it was up to the neighbors to help find homes


Members of the all-volunteer Blanco County Cat Coalition and others took the cats to other shelters. The Austin Humane Society agreed to fix and treat 40 cats free of charge and eventually put 13 up for adoption. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendall County treated and housed more than 20 cats. Others were treated in Fredericksburg and Lexington.


Kathleen Wilson has tried to get as many cats adopted as possible, with 16 still left at her home this week. "Somebody had to be there," Wilson said of the neighborly effort. "There was nobody else."