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Sheriff's office, humane society rescue 41 cats and 1 dog from Oregon home

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Dozens of animals were seized from an Oregon home this week during an animal neglect investigation. On Friday, July 11, KTVB News reported that more than 40 animals were rescued from a home in Milwaukie, Ore. on Thursday afternoon.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Humane Society (OHS) issued a search warrant for the property during their animal neglect investigation. The 41 cats and dog, identified as a Shih Tzu, were living in overcrowded conditions and appeared to have suffered from neglect.

“The evidence strongly indicated that this was a potential cat hoarding case and that dozens of cats could be suffering from neglect,” stated Dr. Kris Otteman, OHS Director of Shelter Medicine.

According to officials, many of the cats and kittens had upper respiratory disease and damage to their eyes. Some of the kittens were only four weeks old. Veterinarians are caring for the animals and trying to rehabilitate them.

"This number of animals and magnitude of the medical care they’re going to need is very serious,” stated Otteman.

The animals' owner has yet to relinquish his rights to them. A court will have to decide whether he can keep his animals or if his ownership rights will be terminated. If his rights are terminated, the animals could be adopted into new homes.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), animal hoarding is an extreme example of how life-threatening neglect can affect both people and animals. The HSUS states that nearly 250,000 animals are victims of animal hoarding each year. This animal abuse differs from other types of animal cruelty, as the perpetrators don't always accept or recognize the cruelty they inflict on their animals. Animal hoarders usually believe they are saving or rescuing the animals they imprison.

The Hoarding Animals Research Consortium provides the following criteria are used to define animal hoarding: 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.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), feline upper respiratory conditions (like the conditions exhibited in these rescued cats) are the most common causes of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats. These viruses can be transmitted from cat to cat through sneezing, coughing, or while grooming or sharing food and water bowls. During overcrowding conditions, URIs can spread rapidly among animal populations.

Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.

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