MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN 6) — More than 40 cats and one dog were rescued from a home in Milwaukie Thursday afternoon from a man investigators have known about for years.
Authorities said the animals were seized with a search warrant from a home off SE Hull Avenue after a neighbor recently complained about the animals possibly being neglected, and officials launched an investigation.
“The evidence strongly indicated that this was a potential cat hoarding case and that dozens of cats could be suffering from neglect,” Dr. Kris Otteman, the Oregon Humane Society Director of Shelter Medicine, said in a statement.
Workers at the Oregon Humane Society examined cat after cat with many of them in need of significant rehabilitation.
“We’re finding a large population – severe parasites and upper respiratory track disease and eye disease,” said Otteman.
Although shelter experts agreed that the cats show typical signs of hoarding, the owner so far has not been charged. He could be though, pending the outcome of the investigation.
A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said the 66-year-old owner always had cats, but he never knew there were as many as 41 plus a dog.
The owner told KOIN 6 News that after his wife and daughter passed away, the cats helped him cope with depression. While many of the animals were spayed and neutered, some did multiply, he said.
According to the cats’ owner, he is now working closely with the Humane Society and is willing to meet with support groups, but if charged, he could face fees in excess of $20,000 for the cats’ care.
The rescued cats and dog are not yet ready for adoption, officials said.