When you own cats, you know how easy it is to love them. With their beautiful fur, jewel eyes and gentle purr, what’s not to love? But some people take this too far and hoarding situations result.
Cats Lived In A Stinky Situation
That was the situation animal control officers found last week at a home in Lafayette, Lousiana. The air was so thick with the odor of cats that the officers had to wear gas masks, WLFI, and the AnimalRescueSite report.
“It’s very hard to describe,” Animal Control Supervisor Josh Klumpe told the news station. “Thankfully we have respirator masks.”
And this isn’t the first time animal control officers have responded to a complaint at Linda Sue Tarter’s home, the Journal & Courier reports. In a 2015 investigation, officials removed 63 cats from a home where she lived that’s just around the corner from her current residence, Klumpe said Thursday.
With that house uninhabitable, Tarter moved into the home of her deceased parents and renovated the other house, neighbors say.
Lafayette police, animal control officials and an investigator from the prosecutor’s office arrived at Tarter’s home about 9 a.m Thursday, in response to neighbor’s complaints about the smell, said police Sgt. Matt Gard.
“She gave them a whole hullabaloo about it,” neighbor Pat Quinn said during the morning’s investigation. “I’m glad it’s getting cleaned up.”
Police visited Tarter the previous week but she refused to let them in said Pat’s husband, Jerry.
And Gard noted animal control has been trying to work with Tarter and added that efforts have been fruitless. That meant their only option was to get a search warrant, and they served it on Thursday morning.
Officials wanted to make sure the cats are healthy
They also wanted to remove the kitties to ensure their safety, Gard said. Around 10 a.m. Thursday, they estimated 20 kitties lived in the home, but the actual number won’t be known until all the animals are removed.
Local ordinances limit pet owners to three cats.
As morning turned to afternoon, officers had removed four adults and six kittens, but there were still several others inside that they weren’t able to catch. And breathing that much ammonia in that house couldn’t have been healthy for the cats.
“It’s a very strong sense of ammonia,” said Lafayette Police Lt. Scott Galloway. “Without any sort of gas mask, you can’t get past the front door.”
Conditions in the home were so bad in 2015, Klumpe noted, that one of the officers removing the cats suffered a nasty lung infection. And since this is the second go-round with Tarter, Klumpe said he intends to forward the case to the prosecutor’s office, so that formal charges can be filed.
“Hoarding in itself has a 100 percent recidivism rate,” Klumpe said. “People just don’t get better. If they’ve done it once … it happens again.”
Tarter faces potential charges of alleged animal neglect and violating city ordinances. The investigation is ongoing and as she awaits her arraignment the kitties are being cared for at the Lafayette Almost Home Humane Society, a non-profit, no-kill shelter.
Now here’s a sad fact:
Nearly 250,000 pets are victims of hoarding each year, the Humane Society of The United States reports. And this is still a form of cruelty because animals in these situations usually suffer extreme neglect. Living conditions for these poor animals are often terrible and can include lack of proper food or veterinary care. In the worst cases, furniture and counters are covered with urine and feces, and dead animals are found among the living.
If you suspect cats are being hoarded, you can help:
If you believe a friend or neighbor is hoarding animals there are ways you can help them out just by getting to know them and starting a dialogue. Hoarder(s) responsible don’t believe they are doing anything unhealthy or unsanitary. They truly believe they are helping the animals they’ve imprisoned, notes Pam Johnson-Bennett in her blog.
Hoarding sometimes results from trauma and loss, so it’s important to show empathy and kindness. Insulting someone will only worsen the situation because they will shut you out.
Encourage the hoarder to seek professional help
If the person isn’t willing to seek help, you can contact local animal control. They can investigate the living conditions and whether the animals are receiving proper food and healthcare and look for signs of abuse. Or you can contact local police, who will investigate according to local laws regarding how many animals can live in a home.
See the story unfold in the video below:
Featured image by WishTV