On Saturday, July 12, The Everett Herald reported that 110 cats and kittens were seized from a travel trailer east of Everett, Washington. Investigators stated that the cats were living in deplorable conditions and that all of the animals were later euthanized.
According to Snohomish County licensing and animal control services manager Vicki Lubrin, the 32-foot trailer, which was parked on Ebey Island in the 4600 block of 43rd Avenue S.E., was searched on Friday. Animal control officers had earlier obtained a judge’s permission to take the cats into custody for medical evaluations.
“After blood tests confirmed [the animals] were diseased and contagious, they were humanely euthanized to relieve their pain and suffering,” Lubrin stated in a news release.
“Even the most experienced officers on site were astounded by the large number of animals contained in the trailer, and the filthy conditions in which the cats and kittens were living.”
According to Lubrin, there was no food or water for any of the animals and investigators had to use ventilators and protective suits to go inside the trailer. Lubrin stated that the woman who owned the cats is believed to be homeless and was living in her truck. The trailer had been moved several times around the county and was found on Wednesday. The cats' owner had previous orders from the county to keep fewer animals and to provide them with veterinary care and safe and healthy conditions.
Lubrin stated that the investigation is ongoing and will be sent to prosecutors for potential charges, including animal cruelty. The woman, 55, has not been arrested at this time.
The presence of 110 animals in such a tiny living space indicates that this was a potential animal hoarding situation. According to the Hoarding Animals Research Consortium, animal hoarding is defined as: having more than the typical number of companion animals, inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness, and death, and denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, and the human occupants of the home.
Pet Abuse notes that there have been nine recorded hoarding cases in the U.S. so far this year. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states that animal hoarding is an extreme example of how life-threatening neglect can affect both people and animals.
The HSUS states that there are nearly 250,000 victims of animal hoarding each year. This animal abuse is different from other types of animal cruelty, as the perpetrators don't always recognize the cruelty they're inflict on their animals. Animal hoarders usually believe that they are saving or rescuing the animals that they have, even though the animals are living in abysmal conditions without enough space, food, or water.