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Elizabeth woman claims animals are manageable

Elizabeth woman claims animals are manageable
Elizabeth woman claims animals are manageable
Debbie Raymer ponders her situation at her home near Elizabeth: 10 adult cats, nine kittens (plus two new litters), 10 dogs and five rabbits. (Photo by Randy West)

When the Animal Protection Association responded to Debbie Raymer’s call for help, they found Raymer and her husband, James, living in abysmal conditions with about 50 ailing cats, seven pups and five rabbits in the basement of their home outside Elizabeth.
Raymer, 39, signed over custody of 29 cats to APA but relations between APA and Raymer soured and the group contacted law enforcement.
The Brinley Ferry Road home was visited by ISP Trooper Shelly Romero who documented conditions inside. Raymer was charged March 8 in Harrison County Superior Court with abandoning or neglecting an animal, a class B misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty, and a pre-trial conference was set for May 24.
It has been nearly five weeks since APA first visited Raymer’s home and nearly a month since Romero’s first visit.
‘We’ve been assured by law enforcement that (Raymer) has taken necessary steps to improve the conditions and find homes for the animals,’ said deputy prosecutor John Colin, adding that Raymer had invited law enforcement to inspect the home at any time.
Raymer also allowed broadcast media and staff from The Corydon Democrat to observe conditions at her home firsthand.
Though Raymer’s home still carries a powerful odor of ammonia, the situation is greatly improved from that described in the initial ISP report. She did not give exact numbers on cats, saying there had been two litters born in the past two weeks. One of the litters, she said, had been born inside her couch and would have to be retrieved after the kittens grew a bit.
She has had a third litter for several weeks.
Raymer, who describes herself as an animal lover and a breeder, said she has the situation under control now. She said she plans to sell the kittens and a pair of Pekingese pups. The rabbits will likely stay, she said, unless she can find good homes for them.
As for breeding, ‘I plan on going pretty far with it,’ she said.
She said that selling the animals had paid bills and were her and her husband’s sole source of income during brief periods during the winter and summer. And when buying her home and property, she said she netted $3,300 in three weeks with which to make a down payment.
Raymer expressed frustration with APA. She speculated that nine cats the organization allowed to be euthanized might have been treatable but viewed as too old for a likely adoption. She also said the group took the healthiest animals first.
The seven cats taken on the first of two days during which APA collected felines at the home were all hospitalized and treated for upper respiratory, coccidia and ringworm, said Faye Hinton, an APA representative who was involved in the acquisition of the animals.
She said ongoing treatment for those animals has cost APA $2,300.
The other felines were in the same or worse condition, Hinton said.
‘We never euthanize an animal unless it is strongly recommended by a vet, and there have been times that we didn’t do it even with that recommendation,’ she said.
Hinton said that animals in the Raymer residence were still ill and the problem not solved.
Raymer said that she purchased antibiotics and has been treating her remaining animals. She has a detailed medicine checklist on her refrigerator door, and, she said, she is taking a correspondence course in veterinary assistance.
The case remains active, and Romero has made more site visits, Colin said.
‘Not everything is as perfect as I would like it to be,’ Raymer said.
The APA agreed.