100 animals -- 16 dead -- removed from ‘unsanitary conditions’ in Oakland County home

Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office reviewing possible charges

The home in Independence Township where 100 animals were rescued on Aug. 24, 2021, as well as photos of a dog and cat after they were brought to a shelter.
The home in Independence Township where 100 animals were rescued on Aug. 24, 2021, as well as photos of a dog and cat after they were brought to a shelter. (WDIV)

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – One hundred animals -- including 16 dead cats, dozens of sick cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets, and a bearded dragon, were removed from “unsanitary conditions” inside an Oakland County home, officials said.

Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center officials were called Tuesday (Aug. 24) to a home on Northview Drive in Independence Township, according to authorities.

When they arrived, officials said they found 100 animals -- 82 cats, five dogs, eight ferrets, four rabbits and one bearded dragon. The animals were “living in highly unsanitary conditions and showing signs of illness,” Animal Control officers said.

Of the 82 cats, many were in distress because of high temperatures in the home, authorities said. The home lacks air conditioning and air flow, so it was even hotter inside than the temperatures in the 80s outside, according to officials.

Nine of the cats were dead at the scene, two died while being transported and two died overnight at the shelter, officials said. Veterinarians had to euthanize three more cats because of an infectious disease, authorities said.

The remaining 66 cats, eight ferrets, five dogs, four rabbits and one bearded dragon are being cared for at the shelter, according to Animal Control.

A cat rescued from an Independence Township home on Aug. 24, 2021. (WDIV)
A dog rescued from an Independence Township home on Aug. 24, 2021. (WDIV)

Officials were allowed to enter the home with permission from the resident and her spouse, they said. Since many of the animals needed immediate medical care, they were removed and brought to the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center, officials said.

The homeowner and her husband said they were providing “care” for the cats as part of their involving with a rescue organization. She surrendered ownership of them to the shelter, authorities said.

Some of the animals were privately owned by the woman and another adult tenant of the house who had recently moved in, according to officials. Neither relinquished ownership of those animals, even though they were removed from the home, authorities said.

Officials with the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center said they will begin forfeiture proceedings.

This case is still under investigation. Animal control officers plan to present their findings to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Officer for review and consideration of criminal charges.


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Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.