OAKLAND COUNTY (WJRT) (5/20/2019) - Animal control officers are seeking charges in Oakland County's largest animal hoarding case in history involving 178 cats.
The cats were removed from a residence in the 1700 block of Elsie Drive in West Bloomfield Township from April 24 through Friday. Sixty of the cats were euthanized due to severe illness or aggression.
“This is the worst animal hoarding case I have seen in my entire career,” said Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center Manager Bob Gatt. “These cats were living in deplorable conditions. They were not provided with the adequate care necessary to maintain good health.”
Many of the cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections, skin infections and malnutrition. Some also were infested with fleas and ear mites.
The investigation started on April 24, when an animal control officer responded to check on cats that appeared to be abandoned. She looked through the windows and saw at least half a dozen cats that appeared ill with no food or water.
Officers obtained a search warrant for the home and discovered dozens of cats. They worked into the wee hours of the morning to remove 63 cats from the residence and came back the next day with new search warrant to remove more.
The owner of the residence relinquished ownership of the cats on April 26 to the Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center and allow animal control officers to take them all from the home.
Because the animal shelter was at full capacity for cats, officers instead fed and provided water to the remaining cats at the residence through late April. Another 100 cats were removed from the home through Friday as shelter space became available.
Officers say no cats were left inside the house as of Friday, but they put out traps on Monday in case there are any hiding.
“This case stretched our resources but it never stretched our resolve to work together to bring the case to a proper conclusion," said Oakland County Public Services Director Mark Newman.
Animal control officers are turning over the case to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, which will determine whether any charges will be filed. Officers are seeking animal cruelty and neglect charges.
Call 248-858-1070 for more information about adopting cats taken from the West Bloomfield Township home.