PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say more than 150 cats were taken from a St. Joseph County home earlier this month.
On Aug. 3, authorities received a tip about a stray cat hoarding situation at a home in Park Township, north of Three Rivers.
When they arrived the next day, authorities noted it was difficult to overcome the smell in the home even with protective equipment. The house was in deplorable condition and deemed unsafe for humans, according to the township.
Officials say the cats taken from the home ranged from newborns to adults. Two of them needed to be euthanized immediately and several others appeared to have health issues, the township said.
Authorities noted four officials received minor injuries from aggressive cats.
Deputy Greg Musser, animal control supervisor for the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, says the cats are being cared for by a small group of volunteers and staff.
“We have had a pretty large case about five years ago with the case with some exotic animals, but no, this was by far in the history of St. Joe (Joseph) County the biggest animal seizure that we’ve done,” Musser said.
The St. Joseph County Animal Control Agency sought help from agencies in nearby counties due to the number of cats. Authorities say they will try to recoup the cost.
During the search, the property owner and a family member were present. Both cooperated with the investigation. According to a news release, the property owner has been cited, and township officials are seeking other remedies to resolve the issue.
Township officials say one of the family members is being investigated for hoarding cats in another community. That case is still open.
The cats are not yet available for adoption. But the shelter does have some that are not connected to this case.
“We do have 10 cats that are available that were our cats in our possession prior to this, so if anybody is looking for a cat now is a great time to help us out. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but 10 cats would tremendously help our staff out,” Musser said.
Donations of cat food, kitty litter, bleach, laundry soap, larger size metal collapsible cages and other items are being accepted for drop off at the animal control shelter gate.
Entry into the shelter is only available to visitors by appointment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kathy Bingaman of Three Rivers donated dry cat food to the shelter from her cat that recently passed away after hearing about the case.
“I hope everyone hears about this and everyone has got something to donate, whether it’s blankets or toys or food or whatever, so if we all donate a little bit, maybe we can all help out,” Bingaman said.
Monetary donations can be made to the shelter through the United Way of St. Joseph County. Donors can designate their money to care specifically for the cats at the shelter.
Animal control officials are submitting a report to prosecutors to determine if charges should be filed.