TAAG Urges Public to Be Aware of Local Cat Breeder

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Photo provided by TAAG.

Buyer beware when adopting kittens in Sault Ste. Marie, The Animal Assistance Group, otherwise known as TAAG, warns.

In November of 2019, TAAG was called to a home in Wabos to pick up kittens. Upon arrival they were greeted by the homeowner, Dana Horochowski.

According to a written statement by TAAG volunteer Selena Sampson, there was a noticeable odour from the second the homeowner opened the door. Upon further inspection, she noticed kittens (approx. eight weeks old) in the duct work, as well as a plethora of cats and kittens scattered throughout the house. Originally told there were around 30 kittens, Sampson said she counted closer to 300 animals at the residence.

When Horochowski took the women downstairs to the basement, the odour grew stronger and, when it was mentioned, Horochwski allegedly said, “f***, I don’t even know how many are dead in the walls,” and also mentioned that a contractor had been out previously, and when they pulled a piece of drywall off, dead carcasses fell out.

Sampson’s statement goes on to say that there were cats and kittens everywhere in the basement as well – in the rafters, ceilings, walls, duct work, floors – as well as empty cans of cat food everywhere, some with mould in them.

TAAG proceeded to chase and catch a small number of the kittens, taking them to a temporary shelter at a house in the Sault also owned by Horochowski as well as fostering them to homes in the Sault.

Karen Marshall, one of the fosters, took in six kittens and also took care of the ones located at the temporary shelter (which was later shut down, but not by animal welfare). Of the six, three died of respiratory issues.

Others were also rescued at a later date, and all were treated at vet clinics in both Sault, Michigan and Sault, Ontario for a multitude of issues. All money used to cover the cost of treatments and vet bills was out of TAAG’s pocket, which is all fundraised throughout the year.

A statement from Sault Animal Hospital in Sault, Michigan, says the following:

“This is a letter to certify findings of numerous cats presented to Sault Animal Hospital over the course of November 2019 to January 2020 from a purported hoarding situation in Canada. The kittens were presented by The Animal Assistance Group (TAAG) for initial complaints over lethargy and upper respiratory symptoms (sneezing, oculonasal discharge and difficult breathing). The majority of these kittens were treated with Clavamox or Azithromycin for presumptive upper respiratory infection, but many did not respond well. We had two kittens go into cardiac arrest and die on presentation prior to completing physical exams, and lost many more (over five) post-examination at home despite antibiotics.

One kitten, Diamond, (was) presented 11/22/2019 for severe respiratory infection and presumptive pneumonia. The kitten was placed on IV fluids, antibiotics and oxygen, but unfortunately passed away from overwhelming infection. This kitten was submitted for full necropsy and testing to Michigan State University. The cause of death was deemed severe multifocal to coalescing suppurative bronchopneumonia with pyothorax. Essentially the kitten had a severe pneumonia that caused multi-organ failure. The bacterial cause of the infection was deemed a multi-antibiotic resistant Bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacteria was resistant to many of the first line defenses against upper respiratory infections in cats, which explains why many of the kittens were not responding to initial treatment.

Bordetella is highly contagious and is spread through direct or indirect contact. It is most common in hoarding situations, shelter or rescue animals, and pet stores. Stress can contribute to infection. In most cats, symptoms are mild, but in kittens or immunocompromised animals it can develop into life-threatening bronchopneumonia.

These kittens were most likely exposed via home condition to other infected animals. Their susceptibility to the infection was increased given the poor care, crowding, lack of ventilation , and uncommon nature of their infection given that Bordetella is relatively uncommon in cats. Bordetella can be spread to dogs as well, and given the sheer number of cats from the same location exhibiting symptoms, there is concern for an outbreak should the cats be rehomed or otherwise allowed to propagate without appropriate therapy.

 

 – Sara Alves, MPH, DVM, Sault Animal Hospital, Michigan”

SaultOnline also reached out to Animal Welfare, who sent the following statement via email:

“The ministry can confirm that complaints were received related to the care of cats at the property.  An inspector performed an unannounced inspection and found the animals to be in good condition and properly cared for.  At the time of the inspection, there was no evidence of deceased animals on the property.  The ministry considers the matter closed.

The ministry received two complaints related to the property in Sault Ste. Marie, which our inspector attended.  No other complaints were received.”

– Brent Ross, Spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General

Ross explained that both calls Animal Welfare received were in regards to a location in the Sault, where a temporary shelter was set up for TAAG (also owned by Horochowski), and not to the address in Wabos where the alleged dead kittens were originally found.

Other statements sent to SaultOnline mirror Sampson’s, adding that kittens in the temporary shelter were also mistreated, and chicken bones and open cans of cat food were left laying around.

SaultOnline reached out to Horochowski, who has yet to respond.

51 COMMENTS

  1. http://petparadise.biz/
    “Vaccinations represent a major stress to the immune system. They can not only cause side-effects and allergic reactions, they also contribute significantly to long term chronic disease. Chronic health problems frequently appear following vaccination including skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndromes, neurological conditions including aggressive behavior and epilepsy, auto-immune diseases and cancer. ” -Healthy Pet Journal

    • Bull crap Dana. We proved to you that isn’t the vaccines because we didn’t vaccine the second batch. And they still died. Oh ya who the he’ll are you suieng better check your lawyer and under slender. You don’t own a business. But as fo a lawyer get one your gonna need one after I’m done with this

  2. tHERE IS NO REASON TO LEAVE NOT EVEN ONE ANIMAL IN HER CARE. SHE CLEARLY SHOWED HER TRUE COLORS MENTAL ILLNESS OR NOT.she lets them suffer a horrible life.REMOVE THEM ALL AND SHE SHOULD BE CHARGED .ALSO AFTER CARE TO ENSURE SHE IS NOT BACK AT TORTURING MORE ANIMALS PLEASE REPORT THIS TO WHOM IT CONCERNS

  3. LOOK …. LOOK AT THOSE HELPLESS KITTENS.. LOOK AT HOW SICK THEY ARE…. THEY HAVE NOONE… THEY NEED YOU TO HELP THEM OUT.. Now we went public because nothing is being done…. I’m not saying have her charge or thrown in the mental ward. I’m saying you ARE THE community you need help. Theose kittens and cats are sick and they are dieng . I GAVE YOU EVIDENCE CHERYL GAVE U PROOF. Start calling OSPCA, HUMANE SOCIETY, MAYOR, PETA, WHOEVER. Tell them your concerns tell them to reopen the case for a proper investigation. Don’t say oh well I don’t want any part of it cause once you opened the link you were. You have heart you must be caring. Just make the call demand for it to be reopened. These cats need are help

  4. Truly sickening and I am appauled Dana has not been charged for animal cruelty and death. What a disgrace. I hope justice for these kittens and cats is done. Dana should NEVER be allowed to own any animal EVER!! No one is lying here Dana but u!! The evidence is clear. Would love to see you in court trying to prove your pathetic case and get charges laid against you which should have happened since day 1. Reading the story made me want to throw up. All I keep thinking is why??

  5. Unbelievable, I Hope she is charged, What good are animal cruelty laws if they are not enforced. Those poor babies, my heart breaks. She is not helping them, she is hurting them.

  6. Thank you to those who tried to help….and to the sick person responsible for all the deaths and suffering of these poor babies and adults; you should be put in jail or in some type of treatment for you’re mental health…don’t talk trash about Tagg; wonderful people work hard for animals at Tagg.

  7. This is horrible. Where are the new animal anti-cruelty laws??? This woman needs to be charged with animal cruelty and those cats and kittens need to be taken away. Why has no one gone to her house in Wabos?? Dead cats in the ducts and walls? this sounds like a horror story. And she’s selling kittens? How can this happen? As for suing Cheryl, don’t be ridiculous. Cheryl as spent most of her life carry for kittens and cats. She is not taking money for gambling or selling kittens. It’s remarkable what she has done for so many cats, often using her own money to help them. She works tirelessly for these animals even while going through serious health issues of her own. I do not understand how people in this area get away with hoarding. puppy mills and animal cruelty. Laws are no damn good if they aren’t enforced!!!! Wake up and stop looking the other way when these complaints are received.

  8. This is disgusting and I feel for those poor innocent cats. This woman should be ashamed of herself. 300 cats? Some dead in the walls? How can this woman justify any of this? Just heartbreaking

    • You are a pathetic excuse for a human being…. You need help and I hope you get the help… Don’t blame TAAG for your bad choices… Take some responsibility for what you have done

  9. So now what? Is this animal abuser being charged? Because if all of this is true, which I have no reason to doubt as TAAG serves to help cats and kitens in need and has no reason to post something untrue just for the sake of it, this woman needs to be charged. Shame on the ministry for not acting when they should have. Those poor helpless cats.

    • Thank you Karen Johns and E Girardi. I’m Selena I gave the statements in the article. Ospca will not release information… I wanted to know why the case was closed.. How could they close the case if a investigation was done proper. The vets called ospca told them the cats and kittens need medical attention and reported their findings in blood work. So how could the OSPCA CLOSE IT. THEY DIDN’T REMOVE ANY CATS OR KITTENS FOR BLOOD WORK NOR DID THEY BRING OUT A VET OR VET ASSISTANCE TO DO BLOOD WORK. NO one will return my calls or answer my questions.
      There was at least 10 pregnant females in November. Are they dead? Are they OK? Are they sick. You figure 10 cats at 3 per cat. 30 kittens are suffering and again in 8 weeks mom’s are pregnant again not to mention the other 80 females running around.

  10. I worked for taag as a volunteer for a few years. Cheryl dedicates her whole life and resources to taag. how anyone could call her a liar is terrible!the people who work for taag go out in the middle of the night in winter to try to rescue a stray/lost cat.I WISH THEY WERE MORE APPRECIATED!!!

  11. I was one tO retrieve the kittens from the property. Dana your a liar. I set three traps and caught IN Mins…. You made me release the male ferrels….” Stating it’s not the males fault” it’s the ####### females that keep getting knocked up. And made me open my traps. I STILL CRY AT NIGHT… I STILL HAVE N8GHT MARES AND I STILL REMEMBER THE LOOK IN THEIR EYES WHEN I HAD TO LEAVE THE REST BEHIND. ALL THOSE PREGANT FEMALES….. AND SHAME ON OSPCA FOR NOT DOING A FULL INVESTIGATION. HOW AND WHY DID YOU CLOSE THE CASE WITHOUT DOING BLOOD WORK. U CAN’T SEE INTER NAL ILLNESS… And shame ON You for not taking vets advice and findings seriously. I repeatedly called for help as TAAG IS SMALL AND WE NEEDED BACKUP ON THIS ONE.. WE WERE THROWN TO THE CURB…LIKE ARE VOICE DOESN’T MATTER….. WE MIGHT BE SMALL BUT WE GOTTER DONE. THAn K YOU CHERYL . Thankyou TAAG VOLUNTEERS FOR PUTTING EVERYTHI NG ON HOLD FOR THE KITTENS. AND ONE VUNTEER EVEN SPENT THE NIGHT CAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT THEM TO FEEL ALONE AND SCARED. GOOD JOB AND REST IN PEACE TO THE ONES THAT DIED AND TO THE ONES THAT ARE DIEING AS WE SPEAK

  12. There are many volunteers, that saw with their own eyes, how sick these poor kittens got before they pasted a away, and she never got one female or male fixed, I saw sweet Diamond get so sick in two days, I don’t know what part of your house she was in, what ever she was breathing in was what killed sweet Diamond.

  13. The kitten in the first picture I believe is now in my house, she’s happy, my son loves her and she has warmed up to us

    • Dana – please don’t stoop so low as to place blame on the ONLY people who were trying to help the cats & their kittens.

      I just sat and read the COMPLETE article & SO MUCH evidence hasnt even been disclosed to the public. There is NO slander here at all.

      TAAG & the MANY foster volunteers Cheryl Alberta recruited are ALL willing to stand behind her because of the revolting things we saw & wish that we could UNSEE them.

      Shame on you trying to place blame. Rather than that why don’t you surrender the many cats innocent kittens that are freezing to death in snow Banks and allow organizations for protecting the animals to come in and remove them off the premises RATHER than sending them away and telling them to release them.
      YOU, SOLELY, are responsible for the death & suffering of MANY innocents.
      There is no escaping that FACT.

    • I really did feel sad for u Dana. I was always reminding ppl that hoarding is a mental issue.and they need to consider your feelings , your anxiety and your sadness. I stuck up for you and still thought about you. But cats and kittens trump that. You new exactly what you were doing. I knew and TAAG new. It’s was unrelaistic, dream that would never of work. Now look its out of control. Please people spay and neuter AND DONATE / volunteer

    • There not saying that cat breeding is Wrong they’re saying in this situation it is because their was 300 cat in the home even dead ones found throughout the home in the wall, the ducts, in the floors, rafters, in the ceilings, and even in empty cat food containers and that is right from the article in about the 3 paragraph go back and read the article to see why the comments are saying what they are saying before assuming that they are saying cat breeding is wrong. It is the same thing with a puppy mill but instead of a puppies it with cats. It’s different when your breeding one or two cats, you’re able to mange that but when you start not caring about the animals and you have more then 50 in your home then it becomes and issue not only for the animals but for the people in the home when animals start getting sick depending on what they get sometimes they can transfer to a full grown adult or an infant. They never said once that cat breeding was wrong so don’t assume

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