More than 100 cats – 60 of them dead – were found Sunday after neighbors complained of a putrid, rotting smell coming from a tidy brick house on Detroit’s east side.
Some 35 flea-ridden kittens were rescued in what Melanie Wittner of Hopeful Heart Rescue in Roseville told WXYZ, Channel 7,are “probably some of the worst cats” she’s seen in a while.
The smell was so bad, neighbors told the television station, that they couldn’t sit outside or let their kids play outside.
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The live cats, malnourished and matted in their own feces, were anemic, “probably from blood loss from the fleas,” veterinarian Dr. Cindy Baumert told the television station.
The cats were found inside a home near Casino and Marne that reportedly belonged to a woman who was well-known to animal rescue groups as someone who was trying to help. An animal-rescue advocate described her to WXYZ as “kind-hearted person” and “very passionate about her animals.”
No one was home when the cats were rescued, and it’s unclear if criminal charges will be filed, the Detroit Free Press reports. Michigan Humane Society’s Cruelty Investigation Department is looking into the incident, Detroit police spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno told the newspaper.
Police are treating the house where the cats were living as they would a hazardous-materials situation because of the amount of animal waste and bugs inside.
Baumert, a veterinarian with Rakestraw Animal Hospital in Detroit, is offering a discount to the Roseville shelter to have the cats tested for disease, including feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
Even a dozen felines in a house is “way too many,” Baumert said, but 100 an unusual and unmanageable situation.“It’s really hard to tell people, ‘You can’t do this,’ ” she told the Free Press.