By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSBURG -- An Ogdensburg woman plans to help stray cats receive proper veterinary care after a kitten she tried to rescue died.
Melissa Lucas said she has always been an avid animal lover and has noticed a large number of stray and feral cats in the area. She said she started her own cat rescue, which she calls Hands Helping Paws Resuce operation in August, and plans to continue her efforts.
"About the same time I was doing this I came across a Facebook post talking about some stray cats near Pizza Hut," she said.
Lucas said people were discussing a kitten that was injured, but not being cared for.
"People were commenting with the best intentions, but no one was stepping forward," she said.
Lucas found the kitten, she called Tuffy, and took it a local veterinarian, but its wounds, which were infected with maggots were to severe.
"I was too late," she said. " They weren't able to save it."
Although the incident was "heartbreaking" for Lucas, it did not change her resolve. She said she decided she would continue her efforts by capturing strays and paying to get them neutered or spayed. She said she also plans to treat the strays for fleas, a skill she picked up doing similar work in Tampa, Fla.
"My friend's mother ran a similar rescue in Tampa," she said. "They are more common down there, but there aren't a lot of rescues around here."
Lucas said she plans to capture at least two cats by Sept. 29, which she will then take to be spayed or neutered, at the next clinic provided by Spay Neuter Now.
Lucas said she hopes to gain non-profit status, but for the time being, she cannot offer tax deductions to people who donate to the cause.
"We've received some donations of simple cat carriers already, but we aren't a non-profit yet," she said.
Anyone interested in helping Lucas can donate to the cause at youcaring.com/hhprescue or visit her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hhprescue.