PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The Humane Society of Huron Valley rescued 48 cats from terrible living conditions that lasted decades inside a Plymouth man's trailer.
The Humane Society said the cats were rescued from a "horrible" hoarding situation that went on for decades, according to neighbors.
Many of the cats were found very sick, and there were remains of dead animals saved in plastic containers. Officials said they found a hot tub filled with feces.
"It is regrettable that this situation went on for so long," said Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s president and CEO. "The conditions that go along with animal hoarding violate state animal cruelty laws and cause immense suffering for the animals. It also indicates that a person with serious mental health issues is not getting the help they need. Animal hoarding should always be taken seriously and unfortunately requires criminal prosecution to ensure that necessary treatment and monitoring is provided. Sadly, all went without help for a very long time."
The Humane Society is desperately searching for residents who are willing to adopt the cats.
"These cats are real survivors and have withstood horrid conditions I doubt many of us could," said Michele Baxter, HSHV’s Cruelty & Rescue manager. "We hope the public will come forward to adopt them and give them the loving care they deserve."
Baxter and the HSHV cruelty investigators pulled the cats from the older man's dilapidated trailer home.
Police said the man who lived in the mobile home is believed to have suffered from mental problems. The man has been relocated, and the trailer was scheduled for demolition on Monday.
"He had no friends or family, so he collected cats," neighbor Leonard Evanoff said. "Then the cats had kittens, and he just kept them in the house."
The Humane Society said Lynx Point Siamese mixes, grey tabbies, brown tabbies and more breeds of cats are available for adoption. All of them have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, and provided with medical treatment.
While some could be house cats, the majority of the rescued cats are not equipped for indoor life. The "barn cats" are free to qualified adopters.
"Adopting a barn cat can be a mutually beneficial relationship," said Jessica Vankoningsveld, feline behavior specialist at HSHV. "You’re saving the life of a sterilized cat, while they help scare off pesky rodents. They can help protect the perimeter of your home, or the area where you keep horse or chicken feed. We’ve even heard people report that barn cats are what keep their town mice-free. Plus, barn cats can make great companions for people and other farm animals. Many barn cats become more social and friendly over time and though we can’t say for certain with these cats, some ‘barn cats’ end up as house cats."
HSHV requires that barn cat adopters provide a safe, permanent shelter with an area of weather-proof covering, a continuous supply of fresh food and water, acclimation time to the area, and veterinary care when required.
To apply to adopt a barn cat, click here.