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Bubba the Love Sponge comes to cat lover's aid

(ran SS edition of Metro & State)

Nothing can keep Vera West from her cats, at least not for long.

West's cats Andy and Amie are her pride and joy. Despite her housing community's directive that she get rid of at least one of them, she is keeping both of them where she says they belong: with her.

"I decided from the beginning I wasn't going to give them up," West said.

West, who has lived in Shangri-La Apartments for 13 years, gave Andy to a neighbor when the housing community threatened to fine her $25 a day up to $1,000.

Managers at the Shangri-La Apartments cited a rule that no more than one cat per unit is allowed.

"I didn't have $1,000 to give them," West said.

But she retrieved Andy from neighbor Ruth Mader on Saturday night and is more determined than ever, thanks to the help of WXTB-FM 98 Rock personality Bubba the Love Sponge.

He read about West's plight in last Thursday's Times and decided to help her.

"Her doctor said in the latter part of her life she needs to be happy," Bubba said. "Nobody else was helping her out."

Bubba hired attorney Thomas Parnell to help West.

Parnell visited West last week and reviewed the community's rules.

"Truthfully, there's a rule in place and it's been violated," Parnell said. "I would love to try and work out some kind of exception."

During recent radio programs, Bubba's listeners donated money to pay West's fine if she were ever cited.

So far, the housing community has not taken any action against West.

"He told me to put the money in the bank and if they come around here to write them a check," West said.

Birt Poff, president of Shangri-La's board of directors, said he had no comment, except to say that West had been "treated fair and square."

The cats are afraid of the outdoors and keep West, an 80-year-old widow, company since the death of her cat Baby.

"They're not bothering a soul," West said.