Former Safe Haven Executive Director Cindy Woods said she decided to relocate the no-kill shelter's 87 cats because she was worried about their safety.
After being silent for weeks after her exit from Safe Haven, Woods said she is speaking out to assure residents Safe Haven's cats are safe in foster homes.
“I had been involved in many transfers during my time at Safe Haven, and I never had to ask permission,” Woods said. So when the possibility of moving all the cats arose, Woods said, she jumped at it, without informing the board of directors.
“Frankly, I thought they would say no, so I just didn't ask them,” Woods said. “It was part of my role as interim director to relocate animals, so that's what I did.”
On July 28, when board members realized all the cats were gone, they called Delaware State Police who investigated but found that Woods acted within her duties as interim director. Woods never returned to work after the incident, but she said she was not fired by Safe Haven.
Woods said she worked with Josie's Place, a small Millsboro-area cat rescue, that quickly ensured all the cats were examined, vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
Woods said before the cats were transferred to Josie's Place, discussions were underway at Safe Haven to move the cats to make room for an influx of dogs. However, Lynn Lofthouse, spokeswoman for Safe Haven, said the facility had no plan to move the cats; she said the board had made no decision on what to do with them.
“If they were really able to move these cats and find them good homes, then show us where the cats are, and show us the paperwork that they are being treated,” Lofthouse said.
Mel Lea of Josie's Place said many donors provided funding to pay for vaccinations and medical treatment, and several other cat rescues helped find good foster homes or adoptive homes for the Safe Haven cats.
“Approximately 20 to 30 of the cats were not fixed. After less than one week, our rescue was able to get the remaining cats spayed and neutered,” said Lea.
“If all the cats are fixed and being taken care of then I would say Josie's Place has performed a miracle,” Lofthouse said.
For more information on Josie's Place Cat Rescue or cats up for adoption, go to www.josiesplacecats.org or find them on Facebook.