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19 Cats, 3 Dogs Surrendered In Alleged Animal Hoarding

Reported by: Send eMail Rick Lord
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Dec. 11, 2013 10:36 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 11, 2013 10:59 PM EST

EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

Alleged Animal Hoarding
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Reported by Stefano Dipietrantonio
A West Side couple surrendered 19 cats and three dogs on Tuesday. The county calls it a sad case of animal hoarding.

The county said, unlike a lot of hoarding cases they typically see involving a senior person, this was about a husband and wife butting heads, and where the husband we're told was fed up with living with so many animals in filthy conditions and called 911.

They reach out and rub their heads against the cage, affectionate and friendly - 19 cats and three dogs, all beagle mixes, seized from a home on Market Drive on the West Side.

"The animals are in pretty good condition,” Chelsea Staley, Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association Director, said. “The house is in poor condition. I like to see animals in better situations than that. The animals are relatively healthy. They're all well-fed."

Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association Director Chelsea Staley said neighbors complained of a nasty smell coming from the house.

"There's not an ounce of furniture that I could see,” she said. “No curtains on the windows. It looks uninhabitable to me."

Inside, it was barren except for a TV balanced on a wooden chair.

Staley said there were feces everywhere and paper plates with food on the floor.

"Typically, when we see a hoarding case like this, we expect them to be senior citizens,” she said. “These folks are not. They're younger, maybe in their 30s."

Staley said the couple have rented there for three years, and then an argument over the animals led to a call to 911.

"The husband was fed up with the amount of animals in the house," she said. “The woman was just distraught, she wasn't able to speak much and the man was just angry, so we didn't get a whole lot of story out of them."

Staley said the owner has called three times already, asking to get her pets back.

"I can't, in good conscience, return them to someone who doesn't have the resources for them," she said.

The woman voluntarily surrendered them, so it's a done deal.

"They're our animals now," Staley said.

The owners were not charged with anything, because the animals were in relatively good shape and were given up voluntarily.

Eyewitness News reached out to them, but they did not return calls.

Several cats have already been adopted, with more than a dozen left right now.

The shelter is having a half-price holiday event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6p.m.

They hope to find loving homes, or even foster homes, for all of the animals.



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