When the news came out that KKK Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona had been found dead, I have to admit I didn’t click on a single story. Nor did I engage in some kind of sick celebration as I saw some people doing, because at the end of the day it’s still pretty fucked up when someone gets murdered no matter who they are. But I digress.
It wasn’t until it emerged that his wife Malissa had been arrested for his murder that my ears perked right up. I knew that name.
Malissa Ancona had been known in rescue circles (yes, we have circles) as a cat hoarder, running an illegal cat “rescue” out of her home. Really, it was more like a cat collecting operation. Scrolling through her Facebook timeline, you find plea after plea for donations. If you scroll further, you see her asking for donations to be called in directly to her vet, however the vet drops off completely at some point yet the requests for other people’s money keep going strong.
A 2015 article praising her illegal and irresponsible operation in the local Daily Journal — which has been removed since Ancona’s arrest for the murder of her husband — is littered with comments about her character and style of rescue.
A new cat rescue group called Precious Felines has formed in Leadwood.
They will be having fundraisers to raise money for the fee to file for federal 501(c)(3) status. All the required paperwork has been completed and now the group needs help raising the mandatory $500 fee.
Malissa Ann Ancona, the non-profit group’s president, said, “If we raise anything over the filing fee, we do have some vetting that needs to be done,” including spaying and neutering cats the group has already rescued.
Precious Felines’ mission is to rescue homeless and abandoned cats and kittens off the street, but will also be specializing in helping neonatal kittens and felines with special needs.
She never did get around to filing for 501c3 non-profit status with the IRS, however certainly kept soliciting donations and “rescuing” cats.
We dug up several fundraising campaigns set up by Malissa Ancona, none of which made a single dime. In addition to two Crowdrise campaigns (here and here) and a GoFundMe which we archived, we found two other GoFundMes that had been removed from the site.
In addition to the official campaigns, she was constantly asking for money. We mean constantly.
Let’s talk about kitten season, shall we? For those who don’t know, kitten season is the lovely time of year from late winter until late fall during which the miracle of birth repeats itself over and over and over in intact cat populations. Kittens fill shelters, show up under people’s houses, and get picked up by rescue groups. This is the point in this piece where I feel obligated to say: SPAY AND NEUTER, you guys. Spay everything you can get your hands on.
It seems Malissa Ancona was particularly fond of kittens and young moms. Naturally. Kittens are much easier to get adopted out, plus they bring in that sweet sweet donation money for supplies. Add to that, if you’re running a really crappy freelance rescue operation out of your home, kittens are known to be pretty fragile so no one is going to judge you if a dozen of them die on you, even if it’s totally your fault because you didn’t get them vet care.
This is a massive red flag. Even operations with huge budgets and shelter space can’t take every single pregnant mom and kitten. Anyone who says they can is probably a hoarder, especially if they never have two nickels to rub together like Malissa.
Now that she’s been arrested and charged, KMOV reports that St. Louis area rescue groups have mobilized to rescue some 45 cats from her home. As they entered the house to remove cats, they discovered evidence of the murder.
“That was more than a little strange to go in that house because that was the scene of where everything happened and it hasn’t been cleaned up,” said Lalita Creighton with Midwest Community Cat Alliance.
Let this serve as a lesson: know before you donate. Ancona had been long documented as a bad freelance rescuer and hoarder, which is ostensibly the reason for her constantly declaring rescue to be full of drama.
The only drama, it seems, came from her and her operation.