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      Donations needed to help dozens of neglected cats in Cortland

      Saturday Update:

      Animal Cruelty investigator William Carr tells CNY Central that an elderly woman and her adult son lived inside a filthy home on 17 Water Street in Cortland, filled with cats. Carr said the entire home was blanketed with feces, including the floors and furniture. The Cortland SPCA rescued 22 cats from the home, but had to euthanize nine for medical reasons. The remaining 13 need dental work done, but will be up for adoption soon. Carr said more cats are still hiding in the house, and folks from the SPCA will continue to look for them.

      Carr said this is one of the worst cases of animal neglect he has ever seen, but said the two individuals will likely not face animal cruelty charges. Carr said the two have a difficult time taking care of themselves, let alone the dozens of stray cats they took in from the neighborhood.

      Carr said he'll instead recommend counseling and request they not own animals in the future.

      From the Cortland County SPCA:

      CCSPCA Investigators and Agents responded to a call about animal neglect and hording at a City of Cortland residence today June 2nd 2011. While responding to a call at this residence, City Police were alerted to a situation of extremely unhealthful and unsanitary conditions, unwholesome air and up to 30 cats reported to be inside of the residence.

      City Fire and City Code Enforcement were there on the scene as well. City code enforcement deemed the residence unsafe for human or animal habitation due to the amount of feces throughout the residence and extremely poor air quality. CCSPCA Investigators found feces carpeting the entire house; covering furniture, beds, countertops, and overflowing litter boxes.

      Investigators stated the air quality inside of the home was as bad as or worse than some of the largest cases they have investigated. Further Investigators observed the cats to be sickly and underweight, with issues that needed veterinary examination.

      The owner signed over ownership of the cats to the Cortland Community SPCA. City Fire assisted CCSPCA Investigators in removing all of the cats from the residence. CCSPCA Investigators say the help of all responding agencies was invaluable, most notable was the assistance received from Derek Reynolds and Mike Tenkate who donned protective suits and respirators and assisted the SPCA staff and officers in the safe capture of frightened and non-compliant felines that were hiding in extremely unhealthful and unsanitary places within the condemned house.

      Investigators will place Have-A-Heart safety traps inside of the residence tomorrow to remove the remaining elusive few. So far 20 cats have been rescued and it is speculated that many cats remain hidden. Investigators state the owner did not know how many cats he owned or what the number was inside of the residence.

      Investigators found two deceased cats in plastic bags in a cat carrier on the back porch of the residence. Investigator Carr of the CCSPCA stated that misdemeanor animal cruelty charges could be applicable to this case and the details are being investigated at this time.

      Officer Carr stated that either way the CCSPCA staff is all relieved to have been able to give relief and much needed medical attention to the neglected animals taken from the home.

      All of the cats have severe dental and oral medical issues and abnormalities. It is speculated this is from a combination of inbreeding and lack of nutrition and proper sustenance. The CCSPCA will medically treat the cats that have ailments that can be treated, including potentially expensive but necessary dental surgeries.

      All are being tested for feline leukemia, and the CCSPCA staff fears several will have to be humanely euthanized as a result of positive test results. Feline Leukemia is highly contagious, non curable and fatal disease that is easily avoidable with proper routine medical care.

      We have been a no-kill shelter for a number of years, but we are not a sanctuary. We have to sometimes make tough decisions and we sometimes have to euthanize for severe health or temperament issues. We also do not get funding from other agencies and are not affiliated with the ASPCA, so we rely heavily on the financial support of this community." Says Executive Director Donna Davie, This is an expensive case for the shelter.

      Whether to provide dentistry TMs for these animals is not optional. The mouth and teeth issues are present in both the very young as well as the older cats and are severe, painful, infected, and for several- disfiguring to the point of affecting their ability to feed and groom themselves. Please help if you can. Every dollar can help make a life saving difference in the lives of these animals that need the help of a compassionate community."

      Donations- 879 McLean Rd Cortland NY 13045 or paypal at