'Deplorable' animal hoarding case discovered in Anderson | Local News - petsitterbank

‘Deplorable’ animal hoarding case discovered in Anderson | Local News

ANDERSON — Animal control officials were summoned to a duplex Tuesday to remove at least a dozen cats from an apartment they found in “deplorable” condition.

The cats were found in a downstairs apartment at 210 Marine Drive living in rooms covered in feces and urine. Officials estimated that most of the felines were between two and three years old, and some suspected they had not been outside since birth.

“You can imagine the odor,” said Kris Ockomon, animal care and control director for the Anderson Police Department. “There was an ammonia type smell from the urine.”

The owner of the duplex, Thomas Hubbard, said the tenants had lived in the apartment for more than two years. He described the couple as indigent, noting he had provided them with food and financial assistance — including discounts on their rent — over that time.

Hubbard said the situation with the couple deteriorated rapidly over the last few months, when he insisted that they would have to give the cats away in order to continue living in the apartment.

“I can’t imagine how I could have been more kindhearted to them,” Hubbard said. “They said they had two or three cats—they had 20.

“I tried to get them help with mental health services and other things,” he added. “At every turn, they would just bite my hand.”

Hubbard served the tenants with an eviction notice stating that they were to be out of the apartment by the end of the day Monday. When he entered the apartment Tuesday, he discovered the squalor.

“They quit answering the door, and they’ve been avoiding me,” Hubbard said. “I took them to court, and they didn’t show up to court. I told the lady a week ago, I’ve got this (eviction) order, and they’ve got to be out and those cats have to go. But I didn’t want them to not have their belongings. They just ignored what I told them and pretended they could live there without paying.”

Ockomon said animal control officials were able to capture four of the cats by hand, but were forced to set traps for the others. A total of 11 had been secured as of Tuesday evening.

“It was a challenge,” he said. “They went and got the traps and began to place the traps, and within a few minutes, when they went back in, they’d caught several of them. The traps were baited with cat food, which tells me those cats probably had not eaten in quite some time.”

Ockomon said once the cats receive veterinary care, they’ll be housed with the Animal Protection League and hopefully adopted in short order. In the meantime, he said, once reports from the incident are filed, he expects to apply for an arrest warrant for the tenants on charges of animal neglect.

Hubbard said he would like to try and salvage the duplex, but Ockomon noted that living quarters in many hoarding situations often are condemned and demolished.

“The owner is going to try to clean it up, but usually they’re not able to get that smell out,” Ockomon said. “It’s that bad that I believe they’ll have to have it torn down.”

APL director Maleah Stringer said Ambassadors For God’s Creatures also assisted at the scene.

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.

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