Reportedly, 67 dead cats and 99 live animals at a home were removed from the deplorable upstate New York residence Wednesday. In this extreme animal hoarding case, a 50-year-old Walmart worker is being investigated for possible prosecution. Sources say some of dead cats were kept in the woman's freezer.
The Times Union, in a Jan. 25 report, said the woman who kept 67 dead cats and 99 lives ones in her home was offered help in the past. However, she allegedly refused.
Irene Vandyke of Schoharie County was visited at her home by local authorities after they received a complaint of a foul odor.
Upon arrival, police observed numerous cats locked inside crates that were stacked from the floor to the ceiling. While they were alive, dozens of others in plastic bags were found dead in the woman's freezer.
Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said the home was in unfit to live in and was very unsanitary. As a result, Vandyke's home was condemned.
Based on the investigation, the woman's husband of 27 years, died suddenly in 2010. And according to family members, Vandyke was left in such an emotional state, she began hoarding cats, perhaps to cope with the loss.
"She was very rational and spoke intelligently. She said she was spending most of the money she made on food, cat litter and medicine," Desmond said, who met with Vandyke, who admitted bearing the weight caring for the animals after her husband's death.
However, Kerrie Colin, Animal Shelter of Schoharie in Howes Cave, doesn't have much empathy for anyone who hoards 67 dead cats and 99 live ones at a crowded home.
She is very familiar with the woman and allegedly reached out to her in the past. Now that her cash-strapped organization is inheriting a load of animals all at once, it's understandable why she is concerned.
"The minute anyone tried to take her cats, she freaked out and threw them off her property. She definitely had a hoarder mentality. She's not a horrible person. She just needs help and counseling," Colin told reporters.
With the 67 dead cats and 99 live felines removed from the home, Colin is seeking donations up to $10,000 to care for the animals.
While they are in good care at the shelter, the load is burdensome.
For consolation, Sheriff Desmond allowed Vandyke to keep one dog.