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Acton Man Is Catalyst In Beach Cats' Survival

August 24, 1989

He sets out dog food for the coyotes, scatters birdseed for the ravens and tends to the needs of about 150 cats and 250 dogs on a 23-acre spread in the desert hills of Acton.

To call Leo Grillo an animal lover is to call the Pacific Ocean a bit moist. The organization he founded to help abandoned pets is called DELTA--Dedication and Everlasting Love to Animals

Last week, he arranged with the state Department of Parks and Recreation to trap two dozen cats living in the rocks in front of Ventura's Holiday Inn. After they are examined by a veterinary, he'll take them to his home, a large, three-bedroom house complete with beamed ceiling and picture windows.

There, feral cats rescued mainly from Los Angeles junkyards and construction sites pursue the peculiarly feline art of lounging. Cats lounge in the rafters, in the trees, on the counters, on the couches. Diseased cats lounge in separate quarters. All will live out their days either at the cat shelter or with a family able to meet Grillo's rigorous adoption standards.

Grillo's operation has been described by Los Angeles County animal control officials as clean and humane.

The Ventura cats are part of a colony that has claimed the rocks for at least 25 years, and that at one time numbered more than 100. Grillo has encountered little of the resistance he anticipated from Ventura cat lovers, who have been vocal and aggressive enough to thwart trapping efforts in the past. The trapping will take two months.

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