Case Snapshot
Case ID: 9784
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat
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Monday, Oct 2, 2006

County: Pennington

Disposition: Not Charged

Abuser names unreleased

The 76 cats taken into custody in early Oct by Humane Society of the Black Hills are doing well, an official said.

Phil Olson, executive director of the humane society, said some of the cats, which were all wild when they were found, have started adapting to human contact.

"The younger cats are really coming out of their shell and engaging the staff," Olson said. "The older ones are leery, simply because they've never been socialized."

Humane society workers found about 100 cats Oct. 2 living in and outside a home in the Canyon Lake Park area.

After a maintenance worker came to the house to do repair work and reported a foul smell, the humane society drafted a search warrant with the help of the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office.

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office then served the warrant with humane society employees present.

The cats were living in filthy conditions in the lower level of the home. A woman, who has not been identified, was living in the upper level.

Olson said the cats had been fed but adequate water and sanitation were not available to them.

Because the cats had not been socialized, it took workers several hours to gather them.

The humane society impounded 63 cats, and 13 more were placed in veterinary hospitals because they were too young to be on their own.

"The 13 are being bottle-fed and are doing superbly well," Olson said.

He said mother cats usually wean kittens when they are between six and eight weeks old, but closer to eight is best for the kittens' health.

One adult male cat was diagnosed with feline immunodeficiency virus. Olson said the disease is often spread between male cats when they are fighting and blood is drawn.

That cat is being held in a veterinary hospital, and Olson said several of the cats living near it will be tested to see if any contracted the disease.

The disease cannot be spread to humans.

All of the cats taken from the home have been isolated from other animals in the shelter.

Olson said some of the cats have "goopy" eyes and are suffering from colds, but shelter workers are waiting to see if some of those symptoms clear on their own. None of the other cats appears to be suffering from any serious disease or injury.

Olson said the cats are still considered the property of the woman who owns the house. He said that as the investigation continues, the cats will be held as evidence.

Glenn Brenner, Pennington County state's attorney, said the case is still under investigation. The woman who owns the house may face animal-cruelty charges, he said.

The large influx of cats at the shelter has put a strain on supplies. Olson said many people have donated supplies and money to the shelter in the past week.

"The city has really opened its heart," he said.

The shelter still needs donations of cat litter, cat food and money to help with veterinary bills, which humane society operations manager Sue Phillips said were at $566.88 as of Tuesday.

Phillips said that amount is expected to increase as additional testing and care is needed.

Donations can be taken or mailed to the shelter at 1820 E. St. Patrick St., Rapid City, SD 57701.


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