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Texas owner dies, neighbors help save 110 cats

By jim Published: September 3, 2009
In an Wednesday, August 26, 2009 photo, Corinne Delisle, along with other volunteers, take care of 24 adoptable cats, a portion of the cats left behind when Glinne Berry, known as the "cat lady", died in July. Blanco County has no animal control agency or animal shelter, so the 72-year-old woman's neighbors knew they had to step in and help.(AP Photo/American Statesman, ricardo B. Brazziell) **NO MAGS, NO SALES, NO TV, INTERNET: AP MEMBER, NEWSPAPERS ONLY**

JOHNSON CITY, Texas (AP) — When an elderly Johnson City woman known as the "cat lady" died, leaving behind more than 100 felines, the question arose about what would happen to her precious pets.

Blanco County has no animal control agency or animal shelter, so the 72-year-old woman's neighbors knew they had to step in and help.

Sheriff Bill Elsbury said his deputies visited Glinne Berry's home about once a week, to check on her welfare, before she died in July of an apparent heart attack.

"Any money she had, she spent on cat food," Elsbury said.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that she had an estimated 110 cats and many were healthy and available to be given new homes.

Carol Schlachter, with the all-volunteer Blanco County Cat Coalition, said some residents considered destroying the cats, even though the animals were doing well.

"I'd say the majority of them were darn healthy," said Schlachter.

Members of the coalition and friends took the cats to other animal shelters.

Kathleen Wilson has tried to get as many cats adopted as possible, with 16 of the original group still left at her home this week.

"Somebody had to be there," Wilson said. "There was nobody else."

The Austin Humane Society agreed to fix and treat 40 cats free of charge and eventually put 13 up for adoption.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendall County treated and housed more than 20 sick and pregnant cats. Others were treated in Fredericksburg and Lexington.

Elsbury said the Blanco County Commissioners Court gave $500 to the coalition to aid in caring for the animals.

"That's how our community is," Elsbury said. "We have a problem, and everybody rallies around it."

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