(TERRE HAUTE) - Terre Haute firefighters, police officers and animal control officers bravely helped rescue 87 caged cats from a burning home on 8th Avenue early Thursday morning.
"We've had more," admitted property owner Jim Kitchen, referring to his current kitty population. "We are down! Our numbers are down! We've been as high as 120, it was just all we could do to get them out of here."
Kitchen admitted the house he bought and converted into a makeshift animal shelter was not zoned to operate as such; Kitchen also said he was not properly permitted with the city of Terre Haute to house so many animals.
But Kitchen is not an animal hoarder; he ran the cat refuge beautifully, according to animal control officers and codes representatives on the scene.
Kitchen's compound was operated, fiscally, with money out of his own pocket and from general donations from the public.
Once the fire, that destroyed Kitchen's cat rescue, was knocked down he admitted his setup was in need of cages, kitty litter, cat food, medicine and money.
The city's codes enforcement department is well aware of Kitchen's operating without a license; but the department said Thursday evening it had not yet determined whether to sanction the good Samaritan, that the matter was being run by attorneys.
Anyone wishing to adopt a cat, foster a cat, or make a donation can contact Jim Kitchen or his helper, Jenny Maxwell, at 812-230-3822.
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