When Tom Groff met Rhonda Goss, she had 12 cats.
Groff says he was allergic to cats most of his life, but after a hearty regimen of allergy medication his symptoms went away — a good thing, because the cat population in their home grew to say the least.
Some cats were strays, others sick, and all rescued, they say. The couple now houses 41, that's down from 44.
It's just the start of a heartbreaking process. Last month, they were informed by Manheim Township that they were only allowed to house five cats and must give away 39.
“I've already given away three. We have five more that are committed to people, but its going to break my heart every time they walk out that door,” said a teary-eyed Goss.
What is perhaps most surprising is the conditions the cats live in. It's best summed up by a Humane League officer, who the couple says inspected the house.
“Immediately he said, 'the cats live better than I do,' ” Groff said.
The house is pristine and a visitor is really only confronted with six or so cats at a time. The rest might be found napping in bed, climbing through a ceiling maze, or hiding in one of their personalized cubbies.
“We take them and we get them fixed and get them their shots and then care for them,” Groff said.
The couple were told that if the 39 cats are not removed by December 21, they could face up to a $500 in fines each day.
Finding their felines good homes is top on their minds, but the couple does want potential adopters to know that feline infectious peritonitis was found in two or three of their cats. It's a common disease found in places where groups of cats congregate. Due to the nature of the virus they suspect it may be dormant in some of the others.
Anyone who is interested in adopting a cat is asked to contact Rhonda Goss at (717) 538-5664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.