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Feline paradise or cat-astrophe? Kitty Haven responds to complaint

By Alison Berg | Jan. 30, 2017

On Jan. 19, a Cache County Animal Control officer responded to a complaint about Kitty Haven Sanctuary — an animal sanctuary in Trenton which takes care of abandoned cats.

Officer Floyd Powell, an animal control officer, said the woman who called in the complaint said she planned to adopt a cat from Kitty Haven. When she arrived at the sanctuary, though, she was horrified at the site of 86 cats crammed into one room.

Melissa Cowley, the owner of the sanctuary, said the woman who filed the complaint was worried she would catch a disease and visited the sanctuary at an inconvenient time.

“She came at a bad time because the house was messy and she just didn’t understand everything that was going on,” Cowley said.

Cowley said when Powell arrived he also voiced his concerns about catching a disease.

“I couldn’t believe it," Cowley said. "You’d think animal control would know what they can and can’t catch.” 

However, Cowley said in her 16 years of owning the cats, she has only caught ringworm twice.

“We’ve had lots of ringworm, so it’s amazing that I’ve only actually caught it twice,” Cowley said.

“A lot of them have illnesses, but we don’t euthanize unless we absolutely have to and most of their diseases can’t be spread to humans” Cowley said.

Powell said he was surprised to see the amount of cats but did not think Cowley was causing any harm.

“I think she’s doing a good thing and I didn’t want to pursue her or have her shut down,” Powell said.

In addition, Powell said Cache County does not have a maximum number of cats a person can own.

Cowley said she has owned the sanctuary for 16 years and, until last week, had never had animal control called on her.