Channel 2's Matt Johnson reports.

Cherokee County cat rescue shut down after whistleblower complaint; 108 cats removed

A Cherokee County cat rescue was forced to close its doors after its license was revoked following a state investigation.

Half The Way Home cat rescue in Woodstock was found to be keeping more than 100 cats temporarily at a Cobb County cottage, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) told Channel 2 Action News. The nonprofit was ordered in August to not house more than 100 cats at that location but 108 were found in allegedly terrible conditions.

Brittany Satterfield, a former volunteer with the nonprofit, tipped off officials after being “completely horrified” by the cottage’s condition, she told Channel 2.

“They were all laying in their own vomit and diarrhea, screaming,” she said. “There’s a lot of cats that need medical care.”


A GDA spokesperson told Channel 2 that “a letter of violation was served, which effectively suspended the license (of Half The Way Home) for two years.”

The attorney for the nonprofit’s CEO, Dana Starr Rittelmeyer, told the news station the rescue’s intentions were good while also denying that the cats were found injured and in bad conditions.

“They’re good people,” attorney Mitch Skandalakis said. “They were not hoarding cats ... because of a few disgruntled people, they unfortunately got shut down.”

He added that the nonprofit plans to raise funds for the next two years until the suspension is lifted, so it can return with more structure.


Furkids in DeKalb County told Channel 2 they took in 88 of the cats Thursday, and many of them needed medical treatment. Some of the cats had broken bones, runny eyes and many sick animals were not separated from healthy ones, shelter spokeswoman Susan Segars said.

“It’s just a situation where animals needed more care and better care than they were getting,” she told the news station. “We’re going to make every one of them well if they’re not well right now.”

Anyone interested in adopting one of cats can visit furkids.org/cat-adoptions for more information.

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