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William Wales

A Defiance man well known for his help in caring for animals — particularly cats — is getting a little help from his friends during an ongoing illness.

William Wales, 73, has assisted ailing animals for many years, and has helped in disposing of and burying those struck and killed by motorists. But he has been diagnosed with cancer, so local animal caregivers have rallied around him.

Defiance County humane agent Stacie Fedderke and others have helped organize a donation program, primarily to help him continue to care for cats and “lighten the load for him a little a bit.”

“He has health issues, and we want to help him continue his passion,” said Fedderke, who is also the shelter’s animal care director. “... he’s been doing this a long, long time.”

Persons interested in donating such things as paper towels, Purina One and Purina Natural Balance cat food, and clumping or scoopable cat litter, can do so at the following locations: Justin F. Coressel Animal Shelter, 07169 Ohio 15 (northwest of Defiance); Friends of Felines Rescue Center, 14597 Power Dam Road; Tractor Supply Company, 08718 Ohio 66; Pet Supplies Plus, 1524 N. Clinton St.; Family Farm and Home, 1836 E. Second St.; and Chief Supermarket, 705 Deatrick St.

Fedderke also requests donations of nutritional drinks for Wales such as Ensure or Boost because “he isn’t able to eat a lot right now.”

Cash donations will not be accepted, according to Fedderke, but donors can pay on Wales’ account at Napoleon Veterinary Clinic where he takes many cats. The phone number there is 419-592-6876, and the address is 645 American Road, Napoleon 43545.

“Stacie Fedderke has been a wonderful person,” said Wales, who said he cares for more than 60 cats. “She’s brought some food and stuff for the cats that I have taken in.”

Asked about his passion, the retired worker from Napoleon’s Tenneco plant said: “I do that for all the animals. But it ends up the cats are the ones that get the bad end of the stick. ... I feel that they’re at the bottom of the rung as a cat ... I just feel they get a bum thing in life.

“It’s almost like you feel like it’s a calling,” Wales added. “I just can’t pass up helping those that can’t help themselves — people too.”

Besides cats and dogs, Wales said he has helped injured wild animals as well, and taken them in for medical care.

Fedderke has been familiar with Wales for many years — dating back to her 18-year tenure as a 911 dispatcher with Defiance County.

But since becoming county humane agent in 2013, she’s worked with him more closely.

“We’ve developed a friendship and a bond, and I think the world of him as a fellow animal lover and person,” she said. “... Willie has given to so many people. With him being ill, I just want to step in and give back to him. ... He’s just a great friend to all the animals. We need him.”

“Stacie Fedderke has been a wonderful person,” said Wales. “She’s brought some food and stuff for the cats that I have taken in.”

Said Defiance Mayor Mike McCann: “I have observed Willie on multiple occasions stop and pick up a injured or dead animal — dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels — and properly bury the remains,” said Defiance Mayor Mike McCann. “... He just cares.”

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