When Homeless Man Passes Away, Neighbors Step Up To Care For His Beloved Cat Colony.
People / Jasmine Dulay
It was the middle of winter and the alley had become extremely quiet. A business owner in the area became concerned and asked the police to do a wellness check on Garcia. The police soon found out that Garcia had frozen to death in his wooden shack, surrounded by his beloved cats.
“The news was devastating — the thought of him freezing just tore me up,” Leona Sepulveda-Less, a neighbor who often visited Antonio, told PEOPLE. “Even in the brutal cold, Antonio chose to stay outside. He would never leave his cats. He left this world surrounded by the friends he loved.”
What was going to happen to the cat colony now that their caretaker had passed away? The community would soon do something extremely surprising.
What Happens Now?
As soon as Doepke had heard the news of Garcia's passing she banded together with three other women to honor his memory. They went to his alley and create a shrine of flowers and crosses, but they wanted to something more. Garcia gave his all to those cats and they wanted to make sure that the care continued on. But how were they going to do this?
Asking For Help
The four women took things into their own hands and started a fundraiser for the West Loop Feral Cat Colony. Animal lovers from all over the country couldn't believe the compassion that Garcia had for those cats. As of now, the fundraiser has received almost $13,000 in donations. The cats even got some nice upgrades in their alley.
One of the best upgrades was the privacy fence that was installed to keep people out of the alley. A covered feeding station was also put in to keep the food safe. Volunteers purchased heated water bowls to stop the water from freezing. They also installed a surveillance camera in the alley so they could keep an eye on all of the cats when they couldn't be there.
A Live Of Kindness
Garcia was a homeless man who enjoyed his quiet life in the alley with the company of 40 cats. Everyone who ever encountered him was changed forever by his generosity and kindness. The cats have been officially registered as a feral cat colony, which provides them with certain protections under the law. Even though Garcia isn't around, his cats will be taken care of.
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