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Animal services evaluating fate of 78 cats removed from central home
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas -- The future of 78 cats seized from a central El Paso home is still unknown.
Thursday, Animal Services told KFOX14 they were in the process of removing more than 50 cats from the property but Friday confirmed they ended up taking in nearly 80 and admit some may have gotten away.
Animal Services officials said the felines range in age from kittens to adult cats but said some are very sick and in poor condition.
As of Friday, a vet at the shelter was in the process of evaluating the health of the cats and some may have to be put down if they are too sick.
The city said charges are pending against the owner.
"I'm sure he wanted to save a life. That's how these hoarding cases usually start. They have good intentions but it can easily get out of hand," said Elda Rodriguez-Hefner, the code-compliance manager for the City of El Paso.
A neighbor reported the case to the city because of a strong smell of cat urine coming from the property.
"Once I found a cat in front, a dead cat and another one in the gutter," said Hugo, a neighbor in Central El Paso.
He said there were always a lot of cats in the neighborhood but had no idea that at least 78 of them curled up under one roof, just behind the alley from him.
"I think that's a little bit too many," said Hugo.
Code compliance already issued 18 citations to the owner for not having vaccines, microchips or registration on the first six cats evaluated.
Code compliance said a neighbor reported the hoarding because of a potent cat urine smell emanating from the property.
Friday afternoon KFOX14 cameras caught at least four more cats still roaming the neighborhood but there is no way to tell if they also came from the same house.
It's at least the third case of animal hoarding in the city in the last two weeks.
"I think what happened here is that that very first case we had two weeks ago, just opened the door to call in on these types of cases," said Rodriguez-Hefner.
Two weeks ago, more than 50 dogs and a lone cast were removed from a home in East El Paso. The Humane Society of El Paso took in 45 of the animals. They said most have been adopted but 10 are still looking for homes and a litter of puppies are in foster care.
The recent hoarding case isn't easy for the rescues and the city shelter, already at capacity.
"It puts a huge strain on animal services the humane society is here to assist them in any way that we can within our capacity to do so. Right now, we are completely full we have no room for cats at all," said Betty Hoover, the executive director of The Humane Society of El Paso.
Hoover said the key to helping is to come adopt, so they can make room for more rescued pets.
"The more animals that we get into homes, the more animals we can assist animal services with," said Hoover.
If you suspect hoarding and want to report it, call 311.