UPDATE: 85 Pets Removed From Tallahassee Home

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By Julie Montanaro
August 18, 2014

A Tallahassee man accused of making threats after the city removed dozens of animals from his home has entered a plea in court.

George Karam was arrested back in May. He was accused of making threatening phone calls after the city removed more than 80 cats and dogs from his house on Gunter Street.

Karam was also accused of pointing a gun at a school across the street and police say when they arrived he was on the porch with a rifle and boxes of ammunition.

Court records show Karam entered a no contest plea today to charges of threatening public officials and improperly displaying a weapon.

Court records show Karam was sentenced to five years on probation. He was ordered to have no pets and forfeit his guns.

By Julie Montanaro
May 23, 2014

A Tallahassee man arrested after officers seized more than 80 cats and dogs from his home is back behind bars.

George Karam was accused of making harassing and threatening phone calls after the animals were removed from his home last week.

Karam was also accused of pointing a rifle at Trinity Catholic School across the street.

According to court documents, when arresting officers arrived, they found Karam on the porch of his Gunter Street home with a newly purchased rifle and boxes of ammunition.

He was released on bond, but a judge ordered him back behind bars until a mental health evaluation can be completed.

Updated By: Emily Johnson
May 18, 2014, 11pm

Eighty cats and five dogs came into the animal shelter on Thursday after a court order by the City of Tallahassee stated the environment they the animals were living in was unsafe.

Because of the big influx of cats the animal shelter decided to waive the adoption fees for the weekend.

One family saw our stories and wanted to come check it out.

" Felt really bad about all these animals and have one cat so we decided we would get another," said Thelma Palmer

Thelma Palmer along with her son Travis were looking at all animals up for adoption until they fell in love with a gray colored cat named Krackle.

"We kind of came into the idea of just kind of come in with an open mind. We didn't really plan on picking out any really, but after a little while it's kind of hard to say no," said Travis Palmer.

Since Thursday the staff has worked around the clock to get the kitties adopted.

"Cats don't do well in a shelter environment they were already living in a very stressful environment where they were," said Erika Leckington, Animal Service.

39 cats were adopted on Saturday and 20 more on Sunday. The animal shelter said hundreds of folks came through their doors and they're thankful these cats are finding their forever homes.

As for the rescued dogs, the animal shelter said they're in a rehabilitation faze and that the dogs will be up for adoption in the coming weeks.

On Friday, the owner of the animals, George Karam was arrested, but not for the conditions that the animals were in. He's arrested and accused of making harassing phone calls and threats towards city officials.

Updated By: Julie Montanaro
May 16, 2014 11pm

Dozens of cats and dogs rescued from a Tallahassee home are now up for adoption.

Officers in hazmat suits went into that home yesterday with a court order that said those animals were in danger.

They brought out cat after cat ... 80 of them in this modest home on Gunter Street. And five dogs too.

The smell of ammonia - and the owner's inability to care for them all - prompted a judge to order them out.

They're all at the animal service center now.

"You'd be amazed at what just one night with fresh air and clean fresh water , fresh food and a nice, clean safe place to sleep is doing to these cats," said Rachel Barton, Animal Services Veterinarian.

Many of the cats had ear mites; others fur matted with feces.

The vet says they all show signs of malnutrition.

"They just love the attention," said Barton.

One cat had to be euthanized, but the rest have been bathed, wormed, vaccinated, chipped, and snipped.

"It's been an assembly line process, and it really has been a huge team effort," said Barton.

Employees say they are surprisingly social.

Employees and volunteers spent the day trying to get these cats adoption ready. 79 of them will be up for adoption this weekend - free to a good home.

"They are already letting us pet them and trying to be friendly and talking to us a little bit. I think they'd be a great pet for somebody if somebody is willing to give them a chance to let their personalities come out," said Amy Greene, Vet Tech.

The five dogs seized are not ready for adoption. But the 79 cats - and every cat at the shelter - will be up for adoption this Saturday and Sunday - for free. The shelter's hours are 10a to 5p on Saturday and 1p to 5p on Sunday.

News Release: City of Tallahassee
May 16, 2014

This Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18, Tallahassee Animal Services is offering waived adoption fees for all cats and kittens in its care, with a goal of finding loving homes for the considerable number of feline residents.

The kennel space at the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Services Center (ASC) is over capacity following the court ruling yesterday that resulted in Animal Control officers removing 80 cats and 5 dogs from a local residence. The animals were immediately transported to the ASC yesterday afternoon. Shelter staff and volunteers worked relentlessly through the evening to provide all 85 animals with veterinary exams.

“After receiving veterinary care from our staff and starting on a pathway to recovery, the majority of the new animals in our custody are now in a position to continue their lives in a loving home,” said Erika Leckington, Animal Services Director. “Many of them would make wonderful pets and will be available for adoption this weekend. We hope that by offering this special adoption event, the community will be encouraged to adopt a cat or kitten into their family.”

All cats adopted from the ASC are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped and will leave with a collar, ID tag and cat carrier.

Tallahassee Animal Services operates the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center and Animal Control as part of the City of Tallahassee’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department. The Animal Service Center is located adjacent to Tom Brown Park at 1125 Easterwood Drive. For more information about Tallahassee Animal Services, please visit Talgov.com/animals. You can also keep up-to-date by liking the Tallahassee Animal Services Facebook page or following @COTAnimals on Twitter.

Updated By: Emily Johnson
May 15, 2014 11pm

Animal Control made headway working non stop Thursday removing cats and dogs from 627 Gunter Street in central Tallahassee.

"Understanding that the people that lived here really cared about animals, but they really just became overwhelmed with the number of animals they were trying to take care of," said Michelle Bono, City of Tallahassee Spokesperson.

We spoke with neighbors on Gunter Street, but no one wanted to go on camera. They all said they definitely noticed the distinct smell coming from the home.

The cats and dogs were taken to the Animal Service Center. They were checked and given a microchip if they didn't have one. They were also given a bath and but into one of the kennels at the shelter.
Authorities at the shelter said that's only the first step.

"A lot of the these cats are going to need to be spayed or neutered. Many of them need dental cleanings they have some pretty advanced dental disease and those that will take a little bit of time for us to work through," said Dr. Rachel Barton, Animal Service Veterinarian.

Animal Service Center said rescuing the animals was just the first step now they need to find their forever homes. If you're interested in adopting one of the animals you can call them at (850) 891-2950.

News Release: City of Tallahassee
May 15, 2014

Following a county court ruling this morning, Tallahassee Animal Control officers are removing more than 80 cats and 5 dogs from a local residence. The court order granted immediate custody of the animals to the City of Tallahassee based on the court’s decision that the animals were in immediate danger and no other alternative exists.

Because of the condition of the home and the presence of high levels of ammonia, Animal Control staff at the scene are required to wear hazmat suits while inside the home. Nearby schools, including Trinity Catholic School and Leon High School were notified this afternoon that students, faculty and nearby homeowners were not at risk.

The pets were living in a 1,170 square foot home on Gunter Street. Animal Control staff and Be the Solution had been working with the owners over the last nine months to help address the cat overpopulation, including free spay/neuter surgeries and other necessary medical treatments for numerous cats with the owners’ permission.

“Going to court was a last resort but was an action that had to be taken due to the condition of the animals’ living environment,” said Lt. Jeff Doyle, Animal Control supervisor. “These are people who care about animals but were overwhelmed by the number of animals and the care they needed.”

The animals will be taken to the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center to receive veterinary examinations. The shelter plans to coordinate an adoption event so that the healthy pets can find new homes.

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