Woman who had 41 cats seized shares her story

Woman who had 41 cats seized shares her story

Posted:
Annette Traore says she feels like she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Annette Traore says she feels like she was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
She says the cats weren't in her home for more than a matter of a few weeks and they're healthy. She says the cats weren't in her home for more than a matter of a few weeks and they're healthy.
Animal Control officers cited they found an overwhelming smell of ammonia coming from the basement and litter boxes overflowing with waste. Animal Control officers cited they found an overwhelming smell of ammonia coming from the basement and litter boxes overflowing with waste.
Traore says the reason she was housing that many cats because she recently lost a contract with a retailer helping with adoptions. Traore says the reason she was housing that many cats because she recently lost a contract with a retailer helping with adoptions.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County animal rescuer cited for cruelty to animals is sharing her side of the story. Knox County Animal Control Officers and the Young Williams Animal Center went to the Coburn Drive home Monday night.

That's where Annette Traore runs her animal rescue organization. Officials received complaints about inhumane conditions.

Traore says she feels like she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Other rescue organizations are overwhelmed as well and that's why she felt like her home was the safest place for all these cats.

On Thursday, Traore walked 6 News through her home and explained how Knox County Animal Control Officers got inside her home.

"Someone pried that off and this is now my door," she said.

For the last nine years she's been running Almost Home Animal Rescue, a total of 41 cats were taken from her home. Animal Control officers cited they found an overwhelming smell of ammonia coming from the basement and litter boxes overflowing with waste.

"This is the room they knocked everything around but this is the one that supposedly had feces piled up to the knees," added Traore.

Traore says the reason she was housing that many cats because she recently lost a contract with a retailer helping with adoptions.

"So I ended up with them. Our contract with our adoption agency is that if they don't want the animal they must return it to us. I had several returns and it just kind of compiled," she said.

She says the cats weren't in her home for more than a matter of a few weeks and they're healthy, "They're all fully vetted, rabies, and tested."

As of Thursday Traore is facing five citations of cruelty to animals. "I'm not going to allow her to talk about that right now but I will say that what was going on with the cats does not meet the statute for cruelty to animals and we're going to defend that vigorously," said Traore's lawyer Jason Baril.

Despite the citations friends, neighbors, and people who adopted animals from her rescue organization are standing by her side in support.

Because Traore technically is still the owner of the 41 cats she's the one paying for their care at the Young Williams Animal Center.

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