Responding to a tip, animal control officials found hundreds of cats and two dogs being housed in a converted storage unit that measured approximately 600 square feet in Pasadena, Calif.
“They were found in crates, they were found in containers, there were cats found in a chain-linked area and there were free-roaming cats as well,” said Ricky Whitman of the Pasadena Humane Society. “They were absolutely everywhere.”
In addition to the 238 cats and two dogs in the unit, rescuers also found another 36 carcasses being kept in a freezer.
The Pasadena Humane Society, which was already at capacity with 150 cats, agreed to take in the animals and said that this is the worst case of hoarding its seen in its 108 year history.
The cats appeared to have been recently fed and watered, although the litter boxes, on the other hand, were another story leaving neighbors irritated by the odor coming from the building.
Tanya Regan, who is reportedly responsible for the cats, was cited last Wednesday and could face charges of animal abuse and neglect. She also had another nine cats and two dogs removed from her home.
However, she refused to give custody of the animals to the Humane Society, which could lead to a legal battle that could last up to 18 months.
“Ideally, we’d love to obtain custody of the cats – 100 percent,” said Pasadena Humane Society President and CEO Steve McNall. “The process can take a year to a year and a half and will be a heavy financial burden on the society.”
“This is an expensive situation for us,” Whitman said. “We will be housing these animals until the court case is resolved. It could be six months to a year that they will be housed here.”