LAGRANGE (AP) – Humane agents removed 49 sick and neglected cats from a mobile home, described by officials as a giant litter box, where three elderly people lived.

Layers of feces and cat urine covered the floor and a sench pervaded all areas of the trailer, officials said.

Animal cruelty charges would be brought against the three occupants – two men and a woman – because of lack of veterinary care and proper housing for the cats, state Animal Welfare Program director Norma Worley said Wednesday. The case was referred to the Bureau of Elder and Adult Services.

Humane agents entered the trailer on a criminal search warrant obtained from a previous visit, Worley said. The names of the occupants were not available.

All of the cats were removed from the trailer, and 20 were taken to the Bangor Humane Society while 29 went to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society in Augusta.

Jeff Mitchell, executive director of the Bangor facility, said that most of the cats were in extremely poor condition, with severe respiratory infections, dehydration, ear mites and ringworm. He said the animals were still being evaluated.

Roxanne Brann, executive director of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society, said that because the cats had never had vaccinations they were considered a rabies risk.

“Many of the outdoor cats have received various scratches and other wounds, making them a public health risk due to potential rabies infections,” Brann said. She said cats that have ringworm would be put down.

Brann said the owners of the cats apparently adopted several strays and never had them spayed or neutered.

“The cats kept having litters, and eventually it got out of control,” Brann said.

AP-ES-02-10-05 0215EST



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