136 cats removed from Bonita Springs home
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- Hundreds of cats, including nine dead felines, were removed from a home on Whip O Will Lane Wednesday by Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS).
Three dogs and a total of 136 live cats were rescued from the home. Nine cats were found dead, some inside a freezer next to frozen food.
Animal services says the floors inside the home were covered with urine, garbage, and piles of feces, some as high as 2 feet. The house has been deemed unsafe to live in by code enforcement.
Cats were found in places like drawers, cabinets, closets and couches. A report states the smell of ammonia inside the home was so overpowering, officers had to wear full HAZMAT suits and masks. Officers spent more than eight hours gathering the animals, but some were left behind as authorities were unable to capture them.
Neighbors say they knew the owner liked to take in stray animals, but they never imagined just how many were inside the home.
“She’s been known for several years as far as taking care of all the stray cats,” said neighbor Barry Koburn.
The owner of the home advertised online and on social media that she was operating a rescue home called “Halfway Home Animal Shelter and Rescue.” A Crowdfunding page also established says the home is bursting at the seams with homeless kittens and asks for donations.
The homeowner says she was operating a legitimate rescue for the cats, but fell behind on cleaning. She also denied keeping dead cats in the freezer.
The animals were all taken in by animal services for care and treatment while the case is under investigation. It is unknown whether the homeowner will face charges.