Three animal rescue teams launched an emergency relocation operation in the North Valley Monday for 160 cats and 7 dogs.
The man taking care of them, Ernest Ford, was found dead Friday at his home on Old Highway 41 near Children's Hospital Central California.
The question Madera County authorities are asking now is, can you help give some of these animal orphans a new home?
At the home of Ernest Ford Monday, was a sight that would melt any cat lovers heart.
160 cats, at last count and 7 dogs in a Madera County home, caged, scared and alone.
Madera County Animal Control Director Kirsten Gross, told why. "On Thursday, unfortunately a man passed, leaving behind almost 100 or more animals on this location on 41."
A man whose dream was to take-in and care for homeless animals, his neighbor said.
It was a dream Ford had the chance to live until he was found face down in his back yard Friday, still guarded by his faithful dog.
"He was a pseudo-rescue organization," informed, Gross. "He had multiple animals here in cages, crates and enclosures and he did the very best he could to try and take care of these animals, however, now they have no resources left."
But, Ford's efforts weren't in vain after all. The animals he saved and cared for will now get another shot at finding owners who love and want them.
Volunteers and workers from the Cat House On The Kings, Friends Of Madera Animal Shelter and Madera County Animal Services joined forces Monday to collect the confused cats and take them to their new homes.
"Well, not all these cats are cooperating," laughed Gross. As you can see they're running all over the place."
Thanks to those volunteers and organizations the biggest animal rescue operation Madera County Animal Services has ever faced went off without a hitch.
It's the next step that may prove a much bigger challenge.
"So maybe someone will come in and adopt lots of cats today," Gross said hopefully.
That's exactly what all three organizations are hoping you will do.
Even though Mr. Ford never registered with the county as an official shelter, animal control says he did a good job with most of the animals they found, many of which are healthy enough to adopt right now.
For more information on adopting a cat or dog from this rescue, call the Madera County Animal Shelter at 675-7891, The Cat House On The Kings at 638-8696, or Friends Of The Madera Animal Shelter at 363-5106.
The Madera County Animal Shelter also says it is reducing its adoption fees to just $30 if you would like to adopt anytime between now and the end of July.
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