YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Humane agents removed dozens of cats from a house on Youngstown’s south side.
Agents say the homeowner abandoned the house in the 4300 block of Helena Ave., leaving the cats behind.
The bank had foreclosed on it July 11, and the family living there moved out soon after, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department.
Agents removed more than 40 cats Wednesday afternoon. At least one had to be euthanized, and another was dead inside the house.
One neighbor said she tried to work with the homeowner, but she said the woman refused help.
“Of course, it breaks your heart, especially being an animal lover. I’ve done cat rescue all of my life,” said Karen Considine. “There’s just, you know, the cats are my children, and I can’t understand how somebody could just walk away and leave them behind, but it happens all the time.”
Animal Charity of Ohio had also been trying to work with the owner. When agents visited the home previously, they say the animals were clean and fed.
It took postings on Facebook to alert officials that the house had been abandoned.
“A couple of our community police officers monitor social media, and they called about it last night, and we kind set up a game plan last night to get here first thing this morning,” said Youngstown Code Enforcement Director Mike Durkin.
They needed protective masks to go into the house, where they reported finding filth, fees and flies.
As authorities were trying to capture the cats, utility crews were removing meters for the gas and electric.
“We’ll have to get it down. There’s no other way,” Durkin said. “There’s just no other way to clean things up when they get to this type of shape inside.”
Animal Charity says the cats rescued Wednesday add to the already-crowded conditions at its facility in Boardman.
While the adult cats seemed fairly healthy, a number of the kittens appeared to have eye infections and respiratory problems.
If you’d like to help the agency or foster an animal, contact Animal Charity at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-788-1064.
At this point, humane agents will present their case to prosecutors to determine whether charges will be filed.