Animal shelter speaks on alleged animal hoarding case
On May 11th, ABC 57 news told you that a South Bend woman was accused of hoarding 27 cats in her home on Monroe Street in South Bend. That woman, Linda Geyer, was also a member and volunteer at the rescue organization, Pet Refuge, on South Bend’s south side. Those cats have since been taken from the home and placed in the pet refuge shelter but the president there says they’re taking on new responsibilities because they do everything they can for their animals.
“This organization has been part of this community for 40 years. I think our reputation speaks for itself,” said Pam Comer, President of Pet Refuge, Inc.
The pet rescue and volunteer center is moving forward with their mission to help animals across south bend after the unfortunate set back.
According to the warrant to seize those 27 cats, Geyer was listed as a member of the pet refuge shelter where she volunteered for 13 years to help care for animals.
“This is an unfortunate incident. We have a volunteer who got overwhelmed and should have asked for help, but usually they don’t,” said Comer.
Also stated in the warrant: “Many members of the organization were aware of the possible hoarding issue yet it had never been addressed.”
“Yes we were aware that there were 27 cats. No we were not aware of the conditions,” said Comer.
I asked if any of those members had been let go due to knowing that information…
“Oh no.. I mean there would be no reason for anybody to be let go, nobody did anything. This was truly a case of someone who became overwhelmed and cats were not in an ideal situation any longer,” said Comer.
Or if Geyer was still volunteering at the shelter, but comer tells ABC 57 News that Geyer has stepped down from some responsibilities.
“She is no longer in any decision making position, I think that’s the best thing to say at this point. Is she still coming to see her cats? I mean yes, we’re not heartless people. The cats are now in our possession and they’re being cared for. All 27 of them are here at the shelter and they’re doing well,” said Comer.
But that moving forward, those coordinators will be watching their animals closely.
“If we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that we have to be a little more diligent about following up as the years go on,” said Comer.
When foster homes initially come on board, there’s a home visit and vet check done and reference checks done for other animals in the home. But since this situation, foster coordinators have been directed by the board of directors to perform a minimum of annual home visits.