Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19880
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat
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Friday, Mar 22, 2013

County: Palm Beach

Disposition: Alleged

Abuser names unreleased

Animal-control investigators were forced to tear a family apart last week when they entered a West Palm Beach home. A Vietnam War veteran and his wife were living in one house, while their other home nearby was inhabited by their 50 or so cats.

The woman suffered from heightened allergies because of the cats, but neither she nor her husband wanted them removed.

"When we did this … it devastated him," Capt. David Walesky of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control said of removing the cats. "He said things like his life is over."

The case was one of an increased number of hoarding calls in recent years. Walesky is among those who think it's time for the county to form a task force to tackle the problem. There are about 90 hoarding task forces nationwide, the closest one being in Broward County.

Without one, it's difficult to address each case properly, Walesky said.

"We took all the cats -- he ended up surrendering them -- but there's still another side of that, which is the criminal side. Animal cruelty charges are still pending," Walesky said.

"Hopefully it could be resolved more tactfully, rather than this giant ka-boom: Your life is dramatically changing in this direction."


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