Cats turn vacant home into litter box

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 02:22:31-04

A west Phoenix home in foreclosure is so overrun with feral cats, and neighbors say you can smell the awful odor from the street but they don’t believe enough is being done to help.

Several neighbors recorded video inside the home after investigating to see whether someone needed help, given the smell and an open front door.

Neighbors said up to 30 cats were on the property living in their own filth with no food or water visible in any of the cat dishes. And they found one cat dead in the backyard.

The Arizona Humane Society says legally its hands are tied because no one owns the cats so it can only rescue animals it finds inside the home. When animal handlers visited the home, there were only four cats that they could find-- and those cats were taken to be medically treated. Beyond that, the cats become the responsibility of the neighborhood.

"We can’t stress enough, spay and neuter, even if they're community cats, even if you don't own them technically." Bretta Nelson, of the Humane Society, said

Nelson said the homeowner leaves doors open and is simply providing a space for the cats to get out of the heat, use the house as a litter box and feeds them, which is a better situation than other hoarding cases they have been on.

Police were expected to board up the house and, Nelson says, the homeowner has been told not to take in any more cats. She says rescuers will spend several days checking on the home and will continue to remove any cats found inside

It’s up to police whether to charge or cite the homeowner for any violations. Phoenix police have not responded for comment.