PHILADELPHIA -- Animal welfare officers removed 260 cats Wednesday from two connected row houses where an elderly lady had been trying to care for them in increasingly overwhelming circumstances, CBS Philadelphia reported.
The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals said its officers executed a warrant to remove scores of felines from unsanitary confinement at the home in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood.
The agency said he elderly woman who lived there was trying to provide a shelter but things spiraled out of control. At one point, she had as many as 300 cats, but did recently surrender about 30 animals, according to the PSPCA, which had been working with the woman over the past few weeks.
Destiny Perez, a local resident with a 14-month-old daughter, said she worried about the cats.
"My daughter has been scratched twice. They like to bite and rub all over you. Some of them would sneak in the (adjacent) houses," she said.
Sarah Eramus of the PSPCA called it a "sad" situation.
"You can see our officers have masks on and respirators so they can spend time in there. So you can imagine what it is like for the cats," she said.
The animals were being transported to the PSPCA's Erie Avenue headquarters for veterinary exams, treatment and shelter.The PSPCA said it had created a temporary cat shelter onsite to help cope with the influx of felines.
"This is a sad situation involving a woman who wanted to help animals, but got in over her head and couldn't provide the care this number of cats requires," said CEO Jerry Buckley in a release. "We're doing everything we can to ensure the wellbeing of these cats."
CBS Philadelphia said Internal Revenue Service and city records showed that a nonprofit rescue shelter called Animals In Crisis operated inside the home, two row houses that were connected when part of the center interior wall was removed.
The PSPCA said the resident was licensed to operate a rescue shelter.
The woman has not been charged, but an investigation is ongoing.