‘THEY WERE SAFE AND WARM’
Authorities take away 90 cats from North Hills man
By Susan Abram Staff Writer
NORTH HILLS — James Howard wants to save lives.
But the city told him 90 meowing cats and their litterboxes confined to a single RV trailer was too many.
Howard, 57, watched on Wednesday as officers with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force carted off the cats, mostly strays, that he had sheltered in a retrofitted RV trailer with an extended porch.
They took them all, Howard said, standing in the middle of a hollow trailer lined with kitty litterboxes. Only a bunny rabbit named Alice, a small dog named Scruffy and his own broken heart was left, Howard said.
“I know what people say about hoarders, but this is the opposite,” Howard said. “Ninety cats is a lot, but they had plenty of room. They were safe and they were warm.” Officers with the task force and with Los Angeles Animal Services would not speak about the case, saying only that more information would be released today.
But Howard believes they were tipped off by a veterinarian “who may have gotten mad.”
He said the worst condition any cat suffered was drippy eyes.
The city cited him with a $19,000 fine.
Howard said he’s been saving cats for 14 years. He got into some trouble with it before and left Los Angeles County. But he returned recently to purchase a large swath of land in North Hills where he said he was working with the Rascal & Chloe Fund, Inc., a nonprofit that helps find homes for stray animals, to potentially build a sanctuary on his property.
“My hope is that they’ll keep them together,” Howard said of the cats. “We’re hoping they don’t euthanize them.”