It is one of the worst cat hoarding situations in state history, according to officials. In all, 150 cats were found in a Winsted home last week and now work is being done to find them all healthy and safe homes.
Last Thursday, Winsted town officials investigated a complaint several stray cats around 143 Moore Avenue. Inside they say they found the cats along with two dogs and a ferret.
“Obviously it wasn’t a healthy situation,” said Town Manager, Josh Kelly. “It’s the town’s legal responsibility to go in to make sure that these animals are OK and that’s exactly what we did.”
The animals were rescued from 143 Moore Avenue. The residents were renters and have not been named. The house has since been condemned. The property owner, reached by phone declined interview, only to say the situation is sad and sympathizes with the animals and the tenants.
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Each animal was taken to the Batcheller School for temporary shelter. There, volunteers have cared for them throughout the weekend and into Monday.
“There’s been people who have been here from 8 o’clock in the morning until 10, 11 o’clock at night. Cleaning, feeding, and medicating,” said Winsted Animal Control Officer, Alicia Campbell.
Health evaluations were done on each animal. Officials say all the cats have received rabies vaccinations, flea treatment, and further medical care.
“A lot of the cats weren’t in great shape and they’re still not,” Kelly said. “It’s really tough to see.”
Sixteen animals needed emergency care, with one needing to be euthanized. The others, officials say, are relatively healthy and are being relocated. Individuals and various rescue organizations are stepping in. Paws Cat Shelter of Woodstock took in 26 cats.
The Connecticut Cat Connections of Windsor also helped, taking in seven cats Monday and expects to get them adopted within weeks.
“Seven cats are just such a tiny drop, but we know that we can get homes for them,” said Sue Daury.
Since Friday, donations of food and kitty litter have poured in. Still more is needed. Town officials are seeking monetary donations, to cover expenses.
“We have huge vet bills,” said Kelly. “A vet has been here three days in a row for almost the entire day.”
Town officials are holding an open house Monday at the Batcheller School from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., hoping to raise money to pay the veterinarian bills they’ve already incurred.
Police say they are still investigating to determine if animal cruelty charges are appropriate.
People who want to donate can drop off cash or checks at Town Hall and checks can be mailed to 338 Main Street, Winsted, Connecticut 06098. Checks should be made out to Town of Winchester, CT with "Animal Care" in the memo line.