UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Feb. 22, 2005 at 5:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A Washington elementary school was closed Tuesday for disinfection because its cafeteria was used as a clinic to sterilize more than 500 cats.

Parents Monday complained the school building smelled strongly of chemicals used in the weekend procedures, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Health officials said it would cost $5,000 to $10,000 to clean up after the cat clinic. It was to have been completed by Monday night.

"The air was thick with the smell of urine. I'm shocked that they would ... cut up a cat in the school cafeteria," Kelley Ellsworth, who has three children in the school, told the newspaper.

Officials said cafeteria tables were removed from the room and veterinary workers operated on the animals with plastic sheets and towels covering the floor, the Post said. No school equipment was used.

More than 500 cats, mostly strays or feral, were sterilized during a two-day clinic at the school. The event was put on by Alley Cat Allies, the city Health Department and the Washington Animal Rescue League.

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