About “The Hood”
Operation Hood Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) cat rescue organization whose purpose is to provide for the adoption and placement of rescued cats and kittens from the property located at the corner of Hood Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg, Virginia (also known as “The Hood”) and place them in permanent homes. Operation Hood is dedicated to the care and well-being of these homeless cats and educating the public on the need to spay/neuter pets, the prevention of animal cruelty, responsible pet ownership, and actively encouraging trap-neuter-release (TNR) in the community. Operation Hood Inc. will:
- Provide food, fresh water, and shelter to the abandoned, homeless cats currently living in “The Hood” or rescued from this location.
- Spay or neuter all cats in their care and provide all appropriate veterinary treatment.
- Place adoptable cats in nurturing foster homes while they await placement in permanent homes.
- Provide a no-kill sanctuary for cats rescued from Hood Drive who are not adoptable due to their age, handicap, breed, or temperament (with the ultimate goal of securing permanent homes).
- Place cats in loving, responsible, committed permanent homes, following a comprehensive adoption process which includes taking considerable care in finding good matches and educating adopters about the responsibilities and costs of bringing a cat into their homes and lives.
- Educate and promote the importance of spaying/neutering companion animals and TNR in the community.
- Educate the public on how to help prevent animal cruelty and abandonment.
The Hood is home to hundreds of cats that have either been born on the property or have arrived as a result of local residents dumping unwanted cats for many years. Over the last 11 years, local and national cat welfare organizations have attempted to limit the growth of the colony. Three TNR efforts involving some 200 cats were performed in 2005, 2007, and 2012. Sadly however, there was never any follow-up, thus the remaining cats continued to reproduce. Additionally, cats in the colony were suffering and many died from neglect, exposure, starvation, and a multitude of medical issues.
Many residents felt sorry for the cats and often left food for them, which drew a large number of cats into public view. Sadly, this lead to some cats being killed by passing cars and/or harmed by people who either did not like cats or simply considered them a nuisance.
On January 2, 2016, a dozen cat welfare volunteers made a visit to the business property and were admitted onto the property by the caretaker of the cats. The purpose of the visit was to assess the severity of the situation. The business yard is occupied with trucks, cars, travel trailers, and hundreds of discarded PVC pipes. At the back of the property stood two sheds that were filled with blankets and old cat food bags. There were small openings at each end, which served as “shelter” to the hundreds of cats.
During the visit, the caretaker was present and began illustrating her care procedure to the volunteers. She had several big dirty buckets of dry food, but did not have proper feeding stations or bowls, so she fed the cats on the ground. Immediately, numerous cats emerged from the sheds, PVC pipes, and wooded areas to eat. This sight was heartbreaking. Many of the cats were filthy, and caked in mud. Some were emaciated, and many exhibited signs of severe flea infestation, upper respiratory infections, cloudy eyes, broken tails and general weakness. Additionally, there were a few that seemed barely alive, moving very slowly, while trying to eat. The volunteers immediately realized that an emergency first response was needed.
Turning this first response into a project demanded widespread fundraising and support from a network of cat welfare agencies. These were the first steps toward rehabilitation, saving lives, and improving the existing living conditions. Quickly, Operation Hood was formed to take over and implement these changes. Over 100 insulated shelters were placed on the property to provide clean, safe housing. Volunteers began feeding nutritious food on a daily basis, a trapping regiment was outlined, and veterinary care was being provided to the sickest cats. Over the last few months, Operation Hood has TNR’d many cats and kittens that have been permanently adopted, placed in foster homes or transferred to other rescues or sanctuaries. The remainder have been relocated to a new SAFE, CLEAN, and HEALTHY environment often referred to as “The Fence”. The Fence is a parcel of land that has been provided for those semi-feral and feral cats taken from the colony who cannot easily be adopted. The Fence is surrounded by a ‘Purr-fect’ cat fence, and includes two 8’x12′ permanent, insulated sheds that provide shelter from the elements. The Fence also contains many Feralvilla feeding stations, additional small, insulated shelters, and three large outdoor litter boxes. Caregivers attend to the cats daily; providing food, clean water, and litter box maintenance that ensures cleanliness for the cats and the surrounding environment.
Operation Hood volunteers have rescued more than 240 cats and kittens from the property. When volunteers first began this effort, many wondered how they would deal with the heartbreak, neglect, and devastation that they saw at this location. Today, Operation Hood volunteers believe that there are approximately 100+ cats remaining. The remaining cats appear to be putting on weight and are looking healthier. The cats are always happy to see the volunteers and gather around in anticipation of being fed. Operation Hood still has a long way to go, but volunteers are determined to put an end to the misery that has existed at this location for decades. Please help us continue in this endeavor! Be the change…