RALEIGH, N.C. – Authorities said 60 cats were put to death after a raid at a home in Wake County, according to WTVD-TV.
The Wake County Animal Center said the euthanizations were necessary because of the animals’ poor health. But some animal advocates are calling for the shelter's director to step down.
Authorities conducted a raid earlier this month at Jean De Olloqui's Raleigh home. She was the president of the nonprofit animal rescue called Calvins Paws.
De Olloqui faces animal cruelty charges. She is accused of depriving the animals of food, water and medical care.
Ninety cats and three dogs were taken during the raid. Of those, 60 of the cats were put to death, said Wake County Environmental Services Director Joseph Threadcraft.
"Because of their medical condition, and the potential for the spread of disease, it was a professional decision made on the basis of their medical condition," Threadcraft said. "If they were to have been brought back we do not have the space for a complete and proper isolation."
Animal rights activists have responded with shock and anger, starting a petition which has more than 1,000 signatures calling for the director to step down.
“I am at a loss as to why these cats were euthanized,” wrote one woman.
Another person said: "This was not a solution to the problem. Other options should have been explored first."
Yet another person writes: "What kind of person would do something like that. She does not need to be director of animal services."
Jennifer Federico is the shelter’s acting director. Wake County officials said she has their full support and is not going anywhere. Officials said Federico has no plans to step down.
Staff at the shelter said that people concerned about animals in the area should first make sure to spay and neuter their pets.
Staff said people should also think about fostering some of the animals at the shelter or consider adopting one. Right now, they even have a special to adopt a cat for just $15.