A community of animal lovers and rescuers fostered and adopted out 17 cats in Bay Ridge following the eviction of the animals’ owners in August.
The two homeless sisters, Keri and Heather, resorted to staying at the parking lot of Our Lady of Angels, located at 7320 Fourth Avenue. They had all their belongings and about six cats with them.
Bay Ridge activists Robert and Debbie Stevens alerted Liam McCabe, the Conservative Party District Leader for the 64th Assembly District in Brooklyn.
“When I saw the women living on the street like that,” McCabe said, “I immediately thought of my dad who was homeless with his dog for a while in the train yard on 65th Street.
“So I tried to help them and reach out to the right agency,” he added.
However, the sisters refused to leave without their pets.
“They just really wanted to make sure the animals were taken care of before they agreed to go to the homeless service,” McCabe said.
Then, they revealed there were another 11 cats, one dog and two turtles left in their apartment.
“(It was) in the middle of August with no food or water,” McCabe said. “I knew we only had about 24 hours to act.”
The women, who were kicked out for not paying rent, had lied to the landlord about their animals being gone. Thus, McCabe asked the landlord to give them time to make sure all the animals made it out alive.
“This took some work and trust since the landlord and the sisters were not on the best of terms,” he said.
Since the marshal had sealed the apartment for legal reasons, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent Animal Care and Control to extract the animals. ACC also publicly promised the sisters that it would not kill the animals.
“It was a very sad scene,” Debbie Stevens said on Facebook, “seeing one cat after another being taken out of the only home that they have known.”
Meanwhile, the 68th Precinct worked with McCabe to keep Keri and Heather safe. Also, Conservative Party Chair Mike Long, who is on the board of Our Lady of Angels, allowed the sisters and the cats to stay in the OLA schoolyard until the animals found shelter.
“That was very gracious of Mike and Our Lady of Angels,” McCabe said.
Bay Ridge resident, Annie O’Brien, was one of the first people to foster the cats. McCabe’s mother also adopted a cat while he fostered the dog for a week.
In addition, Matt Borden of the New York City Department of Homeless Services, animal activist Mariana Nuziale, Tara Green of Brooklyn Animal Action, Bianca Sunshine from the Facebook group Lost and Found Pets in Brooklyn and Sean Casey of Sean Casey Rescue all aided in the rescue of the animals.
“What could’ve been a really tragic situation,” McCabe said, “they turned into a happy ending. And I never believed we would be able to rescue every single [animal], which we did.”
On another note, the last time McCabe spoke with the sisters, they had already left the women’s shelter and had a new place to stay. They had taken their dog and a few cats back.
“I really feel like everyone came together to get this done,” McCabe said. “If I did anything worthwhile, it was bringing all of these people together to work for a common cause.”