October 21, 2014

Elyria
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46°F
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Couple ordered to quell cats’ smell

ELYRIA — A Taft Avenue couple who run a foster home for cats have been ordered by the Elyria City Health Department to eliminate the smell generated by the cats’ urine by Sept. 11.And this isn’t the first time Kimberly Vitruls has been told by the city to “eliminate noxious odors.”

The order, issued by Health Commissioner Kathryn Boylan, said prior notifications on June 6, June 18, June 23 and Aug. 10 to deal with the odor problem coming from the house “have not been adequately complied with.”

The couple, who asked that their address not be published so no more cats would be dropped off, said they’re only trying to help the felines.

“We’re actually doing the city of Elyria a favor,” Vitruls said. “If we weren’t doing this they’d be euthanized or they’d be out breeding or creating 100 more cats.”

David Oakes, director of environmental health, said health inspector John Toth and Assistant Safety Service Director Jim Hutchson had been at the house and smelled an odor.

Toth said the odor was so bad when he was there he could smell it when he pulled in the driveway.

The investigation was sparked by an anonymous complaint on June 6, Oakes said.

Eleanor Mittler of the Erie Shores Humane Society, who has not been to the home to check for an odor, said Vitruls keeps animals for Erie Shores, and the society is trying to find the cats homes.

Vitruls said she and her husband, Ben Gerenday, also have been trying to find the cats homes, and four cats are now being housed at a veterinarian’s office.

She said 10 foster cats remain, and she and Gerenday have three cats of their own.

A nuisance involving noxious or offensive odors is a minor misdemeanor punishable by up to a $100 fine.

Law Director Terry “Pete” Shilling said a noxious odor is something that makes people say, “Whoa, this isn’t what would be normal.”

It’s quite subjective but boils down to “if there’s an odor and it’s a nuisance to you,” he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 653-6250 or cleise@chroniclet.com.