For decades, the corner of Jefferson Davis Highway and Hood Drive in Spotsylvania, County Virginia served as the dumping ground for unwanted cats. Sadly, most of these cats went without food, lived without shelter, received no medical attention when injured, nor received love and affection. Ultimately, many of these cats died of starvation or illness. Those that lived produced offspring and the population grew out of control.

When volunteers first began the Operation Hood effort on January 2, 2016, many wondered how they would deal with the heartbreak, neglect, and devastation that they witnessed at the colony. A strong stench of cat urine and feces filled the air. The area resembled a junkyard; old trucks, cars and travel trailers littering the landscape and hundreds of discarded PVC pipes laid all over the untended property. On the back of the property stood two old, falling down sheds that reeked of cat urine and feces, and as you walk throughout the colony there were piles of cat diarrhea. The sheds were filled with dirty blankets and old cat food bags and there were small openings on each end—these sheds served as “shelter” to the hundreds of cats. The cats had no food bowls. The little food they received was thrown on the ground and their only source of water was mud puddles. Many cats were filthy, often covered in mud. Some are emaciated and exhibited severe flea infestation, upper respiratory infection, cloudy eyes, broken tails, weakness…a few seemed barely alive, moving slowly from one pile of debris to another.

Operation Hood immediately reached out to the community for insulated shelters and food for the cats. They developed a feeding schedule to ensure that cats were fed and provided fresh water daily. Soon afterward, volunteers began trapping the sickest cats. Their illnesses were treated and the cats were either adopted or placed in long term foster care. In early spring, trap-neuter-release efforts began and over time more than 150 cats were trapped and 90 kittens were rescued from the Hood Drive property. Of which, 19 cats and 42 kittens have been adopted to date!

Operation Hood makes every effort to place those cats that are tame into foster care until they can be adopted into a loving and permanent home. Those that are feral, or cannot be tamed are released into “The Fence”, a protected and volunteer maintained piece of property surrounded by a ‘Purr-fect’ cat fence that includes permanent insulated sheds, feeding stations, and outdoor litter boxes.

Today, Operation Hood approximates that there are +/-100 cats remaining at the Hood Drive colony. A majority of the cats are 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 volunteers have spent countless hours cleaning up the property. The sheds were cleaned and disinfected, roofs replaced and additional shelter added to protect the cats from the rain and snow, debris removed, and grass mowed. 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.

As an all-volunteer organization, we cannot survive without your support. Donations are needed for food, medical attention, spaying/neutering, and vaccinations. Any contribution will make it possible for us to continue this life saving work and prepare these cats for another long winter season.

Thank you for your generosity and your kindness. We are forever grateful to you.

Debbie R. Bryant, President Operation Hood Inc.