Sixty-eight cats were found living in a van in Oregon last weekend, in an apparent case of animal hoarding.
The cats were discovered on Sunday crammed into a van with only three litter boxes. According to the Argus Observer, officers from the Malheur County Sheriff's Office were responding to a call about neglected cats in Ontario on Sunday when they made the discovery. Via HuffPo:
Officers made the discovery after getting a cat-hoarding complaint and have questioned 55-year-old Cynthia Allen, who has relinquished the van and cooperated with deputies, Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson said. Johnson said deputies haven't learned much about her background or how she came to have so many cats. He said it appeared she had the cats before she left Eastern Oregon for Texas about three months ago. She had recently returned to the area, he said. He said reports on the case have been turned over to the district attorney's office, which will determine if charges are filed. Allen couldn't be reached.
It took more than 20 people working for two hours to help get all of the cats out of the vehicle. "It was just a swirling mass of cats around your feet," said Elizabeth Lyon of the Ontario Feral Cats Project, who helped rescue the cats. "Every step I took down that center aisle, I had to wiggle my foot in so I didn't step on somebody."
Sadly, five cats were found dead inside the van. Most of the cats were severely emaciated, and some had lost one or both of their eyes. The Ontario Feral Cat Project gave an update on the condition of the cats on Tuesday on their Facbook page:
Each cat was accessed, tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV (every single cat tested NEGATIVE... thank goodness), weighed, treated for fleas, worms/giardia, ear mites, checked for microchips and placed in cages with fresh food, bedding, water and litter boxes. They will be vaccinated within the next couple of days.
Most of them will need more medical attention... Upper respiratory infections, eye infections (some will need eye removals), a few wounds, and some are quite malnourished and dehydrated.
They are all very nice cats, some are scared, but were settling in nicely. They know they are safe and we will take care of them. Most of them just want pets, when we open the cages.
While police are still investigating, The Argus Observer reports Allen will likely face animal neglect charges.
Image via Ontario Feral Cat Project Facebook.