Seventy-two Cats Dead and Alleged Animal Abuser Unable to be Prosecuted

Alleged Animal Abuser Unable to be Prosecuted Due to Humane Officer Breach of Duty

orange and white cat in trap
One of the cats from the home in a trap.

I am sad to say this happened in my own city, in a middle-class neighborhood not far from me. It points to the fact that we need to both have a mechanism in place to work with persons who keep more animals than they can care for so that the animals stand a chance at survival, and for humane agents to be held to nationwide standards that ensure those who abuse and abandon animals are prosecuted and the animals don’t die simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr. Becky Morrow is the veterinarian I regularly write about with the Homeless Cat Management Team and the TNR clinics.

. . . . . . .

PITTSBURGH, PA, Aug. 29, 2014 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Neighbors and concerned citizens are appalled that an Allegheny County humane officer who was called to investigate the abuse and abandonment of over 70 cats, removed two cats and sent the rest to die, according to Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue.

Kathy Hecker, a humane officer working for the largest “no-kill” shelter in Pittsburgh, investigated a call for hoarding and abandonment of a large number of cats in a Mt. Lebanon, PA house. The cats were found in unsanitary conditions and without food and water; abandoned after the tenant, Jennifer Fix, was evicted.

Hecker took two cats and allegedly “refused to take any of the other cats because most of them were too sick or too wild to be saved,” according to Big Daddy Wildlife Removal, the agency contracted to trap and kill the remaining cats. Seventy-two cats were removed and destroyed, while neighbors were allegedly told they were going to the “no-kill” shelter. An additional five kittens and two adult cats were taken to the shelter due to pressure by neighbors.

Cats that were able to be removed from traps prior to being taken by the wildlife exterminators were found to be in good health by a veterinarian. None of the 72 cats were evaluated by a veterinarian for health or temperament prior to their death. Although animal abandonment is considered a form of animal cruelty according to Pennsylvania law, Hecker has not yet filed charges against Fix, and is unlikely to do so since all of the cats that would be considered “evidence” have already been removed from the property.

“It is an absolute breach of duty when an officer sworn to protect animals not only sends seventy-two cats to their deaths without a proper veterinary evaluation, but in doing so, also destroys any chance of successfully prosecuting a person who will likely subject animals to abuse at her next address,” said Dr. Becky L. Morrow, founder of Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue and expert witness in the Tiger Ranch institutionalized hoarding case.

Margo Cicci, a member of the Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement, was involved in the rescue attempt for these cats. “When we first heard that a humane agent was involved, we were relieved, thinking that everything would be done correctly so that charges could be filed against the former tenant, and every effort would be made to save as many of these cats as possible. To find out that this is how the humane agent handled it is beyond devastating.”

Please contact Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue at (724) 230-6485 for more information or to interview those involved in this case.

Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue was formed in 2010, after a sanctuary was created for unadoptable cats rescued from the Tiger Ranch Cruelty Case. Frankie’s Friends is dedicated to relieving suffering caused by cruelty/neglect, disease, injury, and homelessness of cats, by providing shelter, low or no-cost veterinary care, and spaying and neutering thousands of cats annually. More information:

NEWS SOURCE: Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue

Send2Press(R) Newswire is the originating wire service for this story, issued on behalf of the news source.


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12 thoughts on “Seventy-two Cats Dead and Alleged Animal Abuser Unable to be Prosecuted

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  • September 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

    any humane agent should be better trained….it is sad that so many lost their lives first to a human who didn’t care for them and then to a human who couldn’t be bothered

    • September 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Random Felines, the lack of training and oversight for humane officers is the first crime in the series.

  • September 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    there is nothing HUMAN in the way the humane … officer worked this case 10,000 hounds of hell and as many curses
    to ..her?? and Gods speed to those that were euthanized

  • August 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    This is just appalling Bernadette..I certainly hope that this “Humane” Officer is no long in charge of “rescuing” any animals..those poor poor cats..taken out a horrible situation and then instead of have the chance to be loved and find homes they were destroyed..unbelievable!!!!

    • September 1, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Bluemoonalone, it’s hard to look at them and not see all the cats I’ve loved, and cry to think this would have happened to them if they’d been there instead of here. I hope we can change the way things work.

  • August 31, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Bernadette,

    I assume that Kathy Hecker is NOT affiliated with Frankie’s Friends, although it is a bit unclear in this article since you do not specify the “no-kill” shelter in Pittsburgh with which Hecker is/was affiliated.

    Please explain as this is quite disconcerting to me.

    Thank you.

    • August 31, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Meg, I have posted the press release exactly as it was written so I cannot change it, but no, Kathy Hecker is in no way affiliated with Frankie’s Friends. I think it was preferred by the author not to name the shelter.

      • August 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm

        Sorry — when I read the article it had your byline but I see you have removed same.


        • August 31, 2014 at 9:27 pm

          Yes, all my articles come up as “posted by” and I don’t often run press releases, that’s why I left all the press release contact information.

  • August 31, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    We agree that this is very sad.
    It is bad enough when animals suffer, but when people charged with looking out for them don’t,
    then the system does not work. It is sad nothing can be done.
    We purr for those 72 cats. We do not know how Ms Hecker can sleep at night.
    It is sad.

    • August 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Georgia and Julie, we hope this begins a change for the system, and not just for Pennsylvania.


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