Humane Society finds homes for ODOT catsWritten by Patrick Timmis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Travelers stopping at the northbound Interstate 75 rest area near Bowling Green have shared space for years with a colony of cats.
The infestation started when someone abandoned a mother and kittens. At its height, the population rose to nearly 40 and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) realized it had a problem on its hands.
“These aren’t really your nice housecats,” said Theresa Pollick, an ODOT spokesperson. “There are some nice ones out there, but there are some borderline feral animals.”
Concerned about sanitation and disease, ODOT attempted to bar employees from feeding the cats in the hope the animals would leave. Instead, the cats began begging for food from travelers, presenting issues with sanitation and disease.
“If they scratch you or something, we’re in trouble,” said David Torrez, an employee at the rest area.
The department then turned to the Wood County Humane Society for help.
Erin McKibben, the shelter manager at the humane society, has trapped, spayed or neutered and found homes for 14 of the cats. Seven others are slated for operations and have homes lined up.
ODOT employees at the rest area said the difference is significant, with only about 14 cats left.
Containers of cat food sit under tables in the rest area’s equipment-strewn restricted area where the cats lounge. They escape through a hole in the fence into the woods when approached.
“I have noticed that when they know people they tend to stick around a little bit better, but from what I can tell they’re not able to be petted,” Mc-
But a couple of the cats’ new owners say they can pet them now, McKibben added.
The humane society needs funding to spay or neuter and find homes for the remaining cats.
If you want to help or are interested in adopting one of these cats, call the Wood County Humane Society at (419) 352-7339 or visit www.woodcountyhumanesociety.org.