Rescuers find 150 cats in NY home

2014-10-30 20:24

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New York - A US family is facing cruelty charges after 150 cats were found living in the walls and rooms of a rural home in horrendous conditions, an official said on Thursday.

The property in Schaghticoke, 32km north of New York state capital Albany, has been condemned to allow police, fire fighters and the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society to evacuate the cats.

It has taken two days for workers in protective gear to remove 98 of the animals and could take another two days to remove an estimated 50 remaining cats hiding behind the walls, said the group's executive director Brad Shear.

They range in age from newborn kittens to six years old, and 12 were found so ill that they had to be put down, Shear said.

"Most of them are very ill," he said. They are covered in fleas and suffer from conditions such as respiratory infections and ear mites. Several of them are severely underweight.

The Humane Society was called by police after officers performed a welfare check and found the property covered in cat faeces and urine.

The fire department tore out pieces of the attic to give welfare workers access, but the cats escaped through the walls.

Fourth time

"It's a horrendous smell and you can smell it from the outside," Shear said.

The rescued cats have been taken to the charity's shelter, where they will be treated until they are well enough to be adopted.

It is the fourth time that authorities have intervened against the family on charges of maltreating cats.

Nearly 400 cats have been removed from the family in two and a half years.

"There were five people living in the house," Shear said. "Under the law, all five could be charged."

A spokesperson for state police was not immediately available for comment.

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