CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WHAS) -- They hide between the boarded doors, in the grass and sometimes in plain sight on the roads. They are the more than 60 stray cats that have now made the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood their home.
"They're hiding in abandoned houses," Becky Karem DuVall said. "They're hiding under houses. They are everywhere."
The homeowners in Pleasant Ridge have been battling to save their homes, fighting the city of Charlestown and Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment, which plans to rebuild the subdivision with higher-priced homes. While some who lived in the neighborhood have moved out, their abandoned homes are not the only things left behind.
"A lot of people, if they get evicted or leave for various reasons, will leave their pets behind," Darrell Wimsatt, a volunteer cat rescuer, said. "So we have a lot of instances of people just dumping their cats and dogs and leaving."
"The myth is that people think cats can take care of themselves and they truly cannot," Karem DuVall said. "You cannot put them in a barn and expect them to live off mice. It just does not work that way."
Karem DuVall said she was first contacted by the Pleasant Ridge Homeowners Association who knew of her expertise working with cats. She and a group of volunteers now spend their afternoons trapping stray cats and taking them to get vetted and treated before they are placed in a barn home or put up for adoption.
"We're just in it for the long haul. We don't want to leave even one. We really don't want to leave one of them. So our whole goal is to get out as many as possible," she said. "We get such a response of 'I'm so glad you're doing this. Gosh, we need this. We didn't realize how much of a big problem this is."
"We can't get them all but we can get as many as we can," Wimsatt said. "At least we're doing something. We're not just aware of the situation and letting it happen without our involvement."
The group of rescuers said they aren't trying to get involved in the neighborhood conflict with the city and developers, but they are trained to solve a different problem, one trap at a time.
The volunteers said they are always looking for more help, from volunteers to donations to those who can help hold, vet and treat the rescued cats. Those interested in helping are asked to contact Karem DuVall at https://www.facebook.com/becky.karem.