Charlie's angels: Saving cats is man's last wish
Carly Q. Romalino, Courier-Post Published 3:33 p.m. ET June 30, 2017 | Updated 4:19 p.m. ET June 30, 2017
GLOUCESTER TWP. - It took Meg Liberatore three years to figure out the tapping noise coming from her neighbor's apartment every morning.
What could Charlie Beehler possibly be up to so early in the morning?
It wasn't until Beehler's sudden death in April, when Liberatore began going to his apartment to look in on his cats, that she got her answer.
All those mornings Liberatore and her husband had heard the banging, Beehler was dishing out food to his cats — his "babies," she discovered.
"He didn't have any kids," Liberatore said.
The cats — the six who lived in his apartment and other strays outside — meant a lot to him, she said.
"Every morning at 6 a.m., there was Charlie feeding the cats," remembered Liberatore, who had been his neighbor at two different apartment complexes.
Liberatore stepped in to help feed his pets, but now they need permanent places to stay. Neighbors and volunteers with Save the Animals Foundation are searching for homes for Smokey, Jasmine, Snowball, Mousy, Precious and Angel.
Beehler was hit by a car driven by Mount Ephraim resident Dana Harper, 35, on April 30 on Black Horse Pike, according to the Gloucester Township Police Department.
Responding officers found the 55-year-old man on the side of the road with serious head trauma. He died at the scene, police reported.
Liberatore said Beehler was struck as he got off a bus in his small apartment complex's parking lot.
"That morning he had taken the bus down to Heritage and Family Dollar," Liberatore said.
"He was buying a remote for the TVs. He stopped and gave an old neighbor a loaf of bread he bought at the bakery."
The crash remains under investigation by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
No charges have been filed.
The Liberatores lived for three years above Beehler and his 16-year partner, Martha, at another complex in the township.
Beehler was excited to move into the Foxcroft complex where the Liberatores also recently moved. On April 29, the Liberatores helped the Beehlers move in.
Two months later, Beehler's apartment remains boxed up.
The cats were relocated to a Woodbury couple's garage while Save the Animals Foundation and another of Beehler's neighbors, Jennifer Andersch, hunt for families looking to adopt the cats, which are 4 to 6 years old.
"We're all animal lovers," said Joan Bullock, a Save the Animals volunteer working to place the pets.
"When this happened, I thought it was horrible and I knew something had to happen."
The cats are in the care of Michele and Paul Gransden in Woodbury. Beehler's "babies" are living in their garage. Supplies — litter, food and toys — were donated, according to Bullock.
"We want Charlie to rest in peace because these cats were his babies," Bullock said.
Carly Q. Romalino; (856) 486-2476; firstname.lastname@example.org